FOX13 Exclusive: Memphis Police officer discloses department’s trouble handling drag racing

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Memphis seems to be stuck when it comes to getting a handle on illegal drag racing. FOX13 has done its own digging for clues that would help get to the bottom of the issue. In an exclusive and anonymous interview with a Memphis Police officer, who asked that we conceal his identity, he shared from the inside, some of the problems that plague the department and its handling of drag racing activities.

DANGEROUS DONUTS: Streets blocked as multiple vehicles spinout

The chatter still continues about a viral video that surfaced showing the intersections of South Parkway and Mississippi Boulevard closed off over the weekend as sports cars took turns doing spinouts and donuts in the middle of the roadway.

“They don’t have no respect for older people, you know what I’m saying,” said Robert Brown, a longtime South Memphis resident. He shared similar sentiments with other fellow South Memphians.

“Something really needs to be done about it because some innocent people could get killed over this drag racing, this donut spinning,” said Lawrence Wilson.

However, the issue is not just a problem in South Memphis. Over the past three months, reports of illegal drag racing have surfaced all across the Bluff City, including on popular interstates. Most recently, during a “car takeover” to target drag racing, authorities spotted a large group of performance vehicles on South Perkins and Winchester Road going at a high rate of speed.

RELATED: Man charged with street racing, leading Memphis police on high-speed chase

Authorities said on Saturday that the vehicles were attempting to race each other and “dangerously changed lanes recklessly around other vehicles on the road.” Police said they made contact with a driver who identified himself as 27-year-old Carrius Douglas, who was driving a silver 2017 Ford Mustang GT. Police said Douglas informed them he was driving without a license. Police said Douglas then fled but lost control when his rear tires broke loose.

Two days later, police reported locating Douglas and his vehicle. According to police, Douglas now faces several charges including drag racing, evading arrest, violation of financial law, reckless driving and violation of registration law.

On Tuesday, a judge ordered a $5,000 bond for Douglas; according to Shelby County documentation. He has since bonded out, but is scheduled for a second court hearing Wednesday, April 27th.

The anonymous officer told FOX13, as much as they want to prevent cases like these, their hands are tied.

“The public’s perspective on what we actually can do and what they think that we are able to do is totally different from what we actually can do,” the officer said.

The officer goes on to reveal that the department’s “No Chase” policy puts police officers in a bind. The policy would prohibit officers from chasing illegal speed racers once they flee the scene.

“The perception from the public is the police are not doing anything, when the public are the ones that cried out for the police not to be able to police.”

The anonymous cop goes on to explain the frustrations.

“As soon as the blue lights come on, that’s considered a chase. And, if you have a No Chase policy, you can’t even light them up in order to try to stop them.”

Residents FOX13 spoke with recently point out that many of the intersections where racing and spinouts happen have cameras, but we found out from our anonymous MPD source that even that is not a solution.

“Some have been up there for years, and they’ve known, ‘Oh, that one’s been broken, but we haven’t fixed it yet,’ or the crime could happen right under it, ‘Oh, that camera’s turned the wrong way.’” “There should be more cameras, and they should all be functional,” the officer went on to say.

Meanwhile, when we asked for an effective solution for the constant speeding and racing taking over local roads and interstates, our source left us with this perspective.

”Overall, the big picture is, if you don’t have a police department that can police, you’re going to have problems, and that’s the bottom line. Until you un-handcuff the police to actually police, without violating civil rights, but effectively have the backing of the city, which we’ve never had, to police, to curtail the behavior, then it’s going to continue. It is absolutely going to continue, that’s the bottom line,” the officer said.