FOX13 Investigates: Threats against police

MEMPHIS, TN — Questions raised after the way MPD reacted to the intelligence reports from the summer of 2016. Their officers were being targeted.

Protesters took over the I-40 Bridge in Memphis and then a week later a memorial service was held for Darrius Stewart who had been shot by an officer with the MPD.  It was a summer of discontent and worry.

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"The citizens saw one thing. They saw what was happening on the bridge. Clearly what they saw was what they saw," said Bennie Cobb, a retired Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy.

What the public did not see were the documents first exposed by researcher Matt Winter and independently confirmed by FOX13.

The documents are from the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security warning Memphis Police about gangs, home grown extremists and criminals to incite violence and using legal protests as cover.

In July of 2016, Police Director Rallings raised the threat level to protect his officers.

FOX13 showed those documents to retired Shelby County Deputy Bennie Cobb who read such intel warnings in the past.

"Not only his officers but Greg you have to understand if the police officers are becoming targets look what happens to the citizens, next," said Cobb.

One of the places mentioned as places for impromptu demonstrations was the Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church.

Reverend Earle Fisher is the pastor and he complains police never told him anything.

"The pastor or lead personality of a house of worship should have been notified or spoken to directly about any type of grave danger or concern," said Reverend Earle Fisher.

Reverend Fisher told FOX13 if the MPD had intel that outsiders would try to turn create havoc at the Stewart memorial organizers should have been told. "Beyond my pay grade. I would not know. It leaves you with more questions than answers to be sure."

FOX13 is working to find out if the MPD relaxed its heightened alert because of new intelligence briefings and did the monitoring end or continue as activists have alleged which is part of a federal lawsuit.