Community leaders, residents, and police speak out on gun violence plaguing Memphis

Memphis, Tenn — More than 50 community leaders came out to walk through a Memphis neighborhood Saturday morning.

The Orange Mound Community walk aimed to build stronger relationships between police and residents, organizers said.

Memphis Councilwoman Jamita Swearengen and police chief CJ Davis met with residents, offering a listening ear to one of many Memphis neighborhoods plagued by violence in recent years.

Memphis resident Christopher Barltey lost his friend last year due to gun violence.

Bartley said his friend bought a gun to protect himself. However, he lost his life due to gun violence when he was just 17 years old.

”He had to go to buy him a gun but it didn’t turn out the way he thought it would,” Bartley said. “They tried to jack him for the money. He didn’t want to give it and they shot him, took the gun and the money too.”

Swearengen and Davis listened to the concerns of community members who are worried about their safety when they step outside.

“Individuals want to sleep at night,” Swerengen said. “They’re tired of hearing gunshots. They’re tired of dropping to the floor and their needs to be a change, and this is the step that we’re making today.”

Davis said more officers need to get hired in combating gun violence in Memphis.

“We’ve got to hire more officers,” Davis said. “It’s hard to put a plan together without the officers that we need. We’ve got to reallocate manpower that we have right now.”