Storify: Midtown Memories

Black Lives Matter Instagram Feed

“How do you feel about the police?” #BLACKLIVESMATTER


Drielle Bondura, 20, is a Gymnastics coach from East Memphis. “Well, I’m dating an officer. I think with every other profession, we can’t expect all humans to be good, that’s just not how things work. There is good police and there is bad police obviously, and I think right now, and in the past few months especially, the good things that police have done are being over looked because there are bad eggs, there are bad people. I think they should have to reoccurring psychological evaluations just because the traumatic experiences on the job can change a person. On day they could be fine, but the next day they could be under so much stress that they don’t know what to do and that’s why people lash out the way they do.”


Amor Howard, 17, is a Financial Aid staff from East Memphis. “I think most police are here to protect and serve, but then you have some that break their oath. My personal experience with the police hasn’t necessarily been a good one. Police will automatically assume that just because I’m with a group of friends that are African American, all my friends are black, like dark not light skinned at all, they automatically assume that we are up to no good. To me, I feel like that’s not fair because just because we are all hanging out doesn’t mean we are up to no good. They profile us before they have any reasoning behind it.”


Charles Heflin, 57, is a Sherriff’s reserve (Volunteer). “Clearly I have a huge respect for our law enforcement. I volunteer with them to help out during parades and road blocks. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t think highly of them. In regards to what has been happening across the country, I think it’s terrible to see any one die. I would hate for that to be one of my sons or daughters. It’s unimaginable to be one of their parents. I hate to see it, and I hope it ends soon. I have grandchildren that are starting to get older, and I don’t want them to think that America is all about hate.”


Latora Bemley, 22, is a Student from South Haven. “I think the police should be reevaluated so that we can decrease the police crime on citizens for no reason. I think the police should be more community based. They should be more involved in the community so that the citizens of the community will have more trust in the police.”


Josh Wiley, 22, is a University of Memphis conference staff from Frayser. “Well, I think police provide a vital service, but I’m going to be totally real with you. If people have issues with them, the next time that their house is getting broken in to, they can call a crack head. Most of my encounters with the police have been positive. Obviously there are a couple of bad apples in the bunch, but I think as whole, they provide a service that is invaluable. You cannot overstate the importance of the police because they keep the country from falling apart. I think that as a whole, the police are great! I love the police.”


Hannah Bradley, 70, is a custodian from Memphis. “We have to have police and fire protection because there is so much happening in the city and around the world. I just hate that I have to tell my son and my daughter and my grandson that they can’t go in their pockets! I told my grandson, he’s just eight years old, I told him, “Do not put your hands in your pockets when you see police officers” because they are scared too. They have a right to be. On the other hand I wouldn’t want them to hurt my grandson like some of the other people that have been hurt. So I teach him to be respectful and cautious.”


R’ Jai Johnson, 19, is a Best Buy Sales Associate from East Memphis. “I have a certain degree of respect for the police just because they have an authority over us. I’m a Christian, so I believe in following authority, respecting authority, and showing integrity. However, it’s a shame when your integrity means nothing when your ethnicity and your name holds no weight. Though I have had negative experiences with the police, I believe that my strong relationship with God has taught me how to put that into perspective of how the world is. Therefore I have no hatred for the police. I feel that if everyone focuses on building and strengthening their relationship God there would be no room people to hate one another.”


Seth Rowland, 32, is a University staff from East Memphis. “I think the police, like any other group or demographic, is made up of those who are good at their jobs and those who are bad at the job. However, unfortunately with a job as important as law enforcement I think the bad in that demographic is detrimental to the occupation as a whole. When we’re talking about lives and the loss of life, I think it needs to be held to a higher standard. Perhaps with more training or with more funding we’d be able to get more qualified individuals in the positions.”


Keyera Gates, 22, is a campus outreach intern from Memphis. “When we did the Black Lives Matter silent rally outside the UC, I was holding the poster that said ‘I AM NOT FATHERLESS’. A lot of African Americans grow up in single parent households, with just a single mother working as many jobs as she can to provide for her kids and things like that. I have God, so I am not fatherless and a lot of people are looking to police to not necessarily be their fathers, but to be some form of protection when things go wrong, and that’s ultimately when you look to your father to be a protector.”


Robert Taylor, 68, is a Management consultant/Professor from Collierville. “I think police have an extremely difficult job and we should cut them a little more slack than we do right now. There are incidents where white police kill black people, black police kill black people, you know, they can’t all be prejudice. So does that mean the black police are okay, and the white ones aren’t? So, I have trouble with that. I was trained as military policeman in the military, so I know how difficult some of the kinds of decisions might be, and so I have no problem with Black Lives Matter…I do think black people are targeted much more than whites inappropriately.”