MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Among those sprayed with tear gas in Frayser last night, was a local pastor and University of Memphis professor.
Reverend Andre Johnson came out to document what was going on. Through this…he said he could feel the frustration in this community.
When Johnson heard the shooting and rioting in the Frayser community, he felt the need to be present.
“When I got here I saw people visibly upset, folks crying, folks holding each other, embracing one another, holding each other back,” Johnson said.
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He was at the intersection of Overton Crossing and Argonne Street, where he was sharing the scene on Facebook live.
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With officers in riot and gear lined up on the opposite side, emotions would soon boil over.
“People just want to know answers. People want to feel as if their public officials, as well as public service are really there for them and last night they did not feel that way at all,” Johnson said. “They felt like everybody was against them.
Johnson said from his point of view, officers did not do anything to avoid further issues.
“It was seeming like they wanted to kind of motivate and egg on and push some of the community to do some of the things that they wanted to do,” he said.
Johnson was soon caught in the middle of the growing tension, eventually being among those sprayed with tear gas.
“There was no warning to disperse, not that I heard. Usually you get the one, two, three warning to kind of disperse when it’s time to disperse,” he said.
Despite feeling this impact, as a member of the local clergy, Johnson said the hope is to direct the negative energy toward a positive direction.
“What we try to do is get them to channel this in a more…in a good, healthy and productive way. I hope that’s what’s going to happen from this day forward,” he said.
Johnson said he hopes the truth will be shared.
“No sugar coating. No trying to hide the facts. Once it comes out, I think the community is big enough and strong enough and able enough to accept,” he said.
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