MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton spent the morning at an ice cream social in Orange Mound. It was a pretty sweet gig for a guy who has been through a sour stomach of a week.
Everything came to a head when off-duty Memphis Police Officer Terrance Shaw claimed he was acting in self defense while being robbed. He shot and killed 15-year-old Justin Thompson. The Mayor was angry. No information had been released by the department about who the officer was, or what happened. So he called over Police Director Toney Armstrong and said basically, this has to end right now.
There are critics of the Mayor who say the entire situation was his way of making Director Armstrong look bad, to try and get him to quit. The Mayor denies that, and so does Armstrong. “I love the Memphis Police Department,” Director Armstrong says. “I love the city of Memphis. I love my job.”
Mayor Wharton might end up joining in. “I love little baby ducks… Old pickup trucks… New suits on the racks… And facts.” Facts are what he’s talking about these days. From the police department, as in… where are they? “What really concerns me is at what point can we let the public know what we know, so we can dispel a lot of the rumors that get out.”
Wharton makes no apologies about showing up at the scene of the murder of 18-year-old Devail Lewis last week. It happened in a city park, and the event angered Wharton. His showing up angered members of the Memphis Police Association. Union President Mike Williams says the Mayor showed up to try and make Director Armstrong look bad. “Allow the police to be the police,” Williams said. “Allow the Director to be the Director.”
Mayor Wharton says it’s not going to be a regular thing, but if the situation is appropriate, he will show up. “If the situation dictates, I will be there,” he said. “I simply express the sentiments of the community and then move on.”