On November 17, 2019, Shawanda Brookshire was confronted by West Memphis, Arkansas police officers in the parking lot of a LaQuinta Hotel just hours after she saw her daughter’s body for the first time at a local funeral home.
According to Fox 13, the police, who were patrolling the area after a number of reported break-ins, stopped Brookshire to confirm she was a guest at the hotel. After providing a room key, authorities asked for the woman’s identification, which she reportedly left in her room.
Brookshire, who was grieving the loss of her daughter wanted to be left alone and began yelling at the officers while calling her mother to bring out her id.
According to Fox 13, Brookshire reportedly continued to scream at the officers as they struggled to handcuff her until she was on the ground.
As her family approached, they saw her on the ground and began yelling at the officers, one officer pulled out his Taser and told them to stop. Brookshire was then placed in the patrol car, Fox 13 reports.
A supervising officer arrived at the scene, and family members explained how Brookshire had lost her 4-year-old daughter, Nia, in a car accident and they were in town helping to make final arrangements to lay the little girl to rest.
Now, a petition has been started to protect the West Memphis from police violence. The petition, started by Richard Brookshire via Organize For, is demanding:
“1. A full investigation into the assault of Shawnda Brookshire by West Memphis PD officers
2. A public apology issued by the offending officers to Shawnda Brookshire and her family
3. Commensurate disciplinary action by the West Memphis PD for the offense, up to and including the removal of the offending officers’ badge(s)
4. The addition of “excessive use of force” onto the offending officers’ record(s).”
The petition also cites the demographic makeup of West Memphis, which they claim increases the likeliness of “harmful interactions with law enforcement.”
“The city of West Memphis, Arkansas, is 61.4% Black, and Black people constitute 2 out of 5 of West Memphis residents living below the poverty line. These socioeconomic factors increase the likelihood of harmful interactions with law enforcement, which in turn reinforce the social and economic disenfranchisement--and consequently, the dehumanization-- of poor Black families.
“We demand accountability from the West Memphis PD,” the petition concludes. “Shawnda deserves justice.”
To view the petition, click here.