Memphis Police Association president Mike Williams spoke to Robyn Walensky on her show “Wake Up Memphis” about the riots and protests that are spreading across the country due to the death of George Floyd. He also hosts a weekend show on KWAM The Mighty 990, “Behind the Badge.”
In many areas of the country, the once-peaceful protests have turned into wild riots.“My heart hurts for America right now,” Williams said on the matter.
While Williams agreed that we must hold people accountable and denounce killing unarmed civilians, he added that this does not permit violent actions. Many people’s livelihoods have literally gone up in smoke due to the riots. Many of those participating in violence aren’t even locals from the area that they’re looting.
“Now we’re going around tearing down a life’s work,” Williams said of the rioters.
In Memphis, protest leader Devonte Hill called the march off because he found out that some members were “going to be up to no good.” Most of the locals returned home.“I don’t understand how we allow individuals to come into our city, tear up our city, and then go back to their city,” Williams added.
As a police officer and black man himself, he said that he felt caught in the middle of the issue. In fact, he has many members that are in the police force as well.
“This is one of the times that I’m speechless,” Williams said.While Memphis looks to its leadership for guidance, there’s only been silence.
“I have not heard any public statement coming from Mayor Strickland other than wear your mask, social distance,” Williams pointed out.
The officer said he didn’t know if the mayor could relate to what was going on in regards to George Floyd’s death by a police officer.
“It was hard for me to watch,” Williams said, “and I don’t know if Mr. Strickland has the capacity to be able to relate to things of that nature because he has not had to go through that. I, as a black man, have been profiled.”
To become part of the solution, Williams said, sometimes you have to get on the front lines of the issue.
“I became the police because I didn’t like the police when I grew up,” he said, “but, in order to affect change, sometimes you have to become part of the solution.”