Kiare Newsom alleges that officers harassed her during a traffic stop, called her homophobic and transphobic slurs, and told her to lift her shirt along a busy highway. Newsom filed a complaint against the officers involved in the incident with internal affairs. The outcome of that investigation is still pending.
The Tennessee Equality Project Foundation provided LGBT diversity training to the Memphis Police Department Training Academy staff and other officers in 2008 following the beating of transgender woman Duanna Johnson by Bridges McRae, a former Memphis Police Officer. The MPD terminated McRae following the incident, and he is currently serving a jail sentence for violating Duanna Johnson's civil rights. The purpose of Tuesday's meeting included a review of current MPD diversity training curriculum and exploring ways in which the MPD and the LGBT community can work together to ensure that all citizens in the community are protected and treated fairly - with a particular emphasis on transgender individuals.
Director Armstrong expressed a commitment to fairness and treating people equally and is willing to address concerns about interactions between LGBT members of the community and the MPD. Mayor A C Wharton also visited with the assembled group and offered constructive ideas for addressing presented concerns. The spirit of cooperation among community leaders, Memphis Police Command staff and Mayor Wharton during the meeting encouraged Tuesday's participants to move forward in partnership. We promised to meet again, continue our discussion, and explore more opportunities for community engagement.