Riddled with shots, killed at seven o'clock in the evening by at least 20 bullets fired by the officers who shot him down in front of his backyard: this is how Brandon Webber, 21, an African American, father of a child, wanted by some police officers, died minor offenses. A couple of hours go by and in Memphis all hell breaks loose, chaos, with hundreds of people pouring into the street to protest. And soon the anger of the black community degenerates into urban guerrilla warfare. The budget is at least 26 injured, including 24 policemen, three arrests and dozens of cars devastated.
The images of local TV stations show a dense throw of stones and bottles towards the officers deployed in anti-riot order and who respond with some charges and the launch of tear gas. The crowd is dispersed only late at night. The shootings meanwhile go around the world, bringing to the fore the difficult reality of a city with an African-American majority that is best known for being the capital of the blues and rock'n'roll (Elvis is buried there) and for being the theater of assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968.
And America is once again asking itself about the excessive use of force by the police against the African-American minority, about that long trail of blood and violence that in recent years - from the case of Trayvon Martin to that of Michael Brown - has given life to the Black Lives Matter movement. After the pressure of the Obama administration to try to change procedures and codes of conduct of the various police departments, it is now questioned whether in the Trump era there is no risk of taking a step back. The facts. The men of Us Marshall, the federal agency of the penitentiary police, had arrived in the suburb of Frayser, in the northern part of Memphis, to arrest Brandon accused of crimes at the time not disclosed. In action were the agents who are part of the task force that has the task of hunting down the wanted men. They found the boy in the car and - according to their story - the young man would have tried to run them over. Then, getting out of the car, Brandon would have threatened the agents with a firearm. That is where the fatal blast started. But this is a version disputed by witnesses and family members, according to whom the boy just wanted to escape.
Some also say that Brandon was unarmed. It will be the investigation initiated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to try to establish the truth. The only thing certain is that Brandon, just before he was killed, posted a video on Facebook that was later removed. Images in which he had resumed the arrival of the agents and he would hear himself say "they must kill me". Little is known about the boy's past, who had graduated a couple of years ago and was enrolled at the University of Memphis. Still on Facebook, the mother of her child from the hospital where she works posted another video that depicts her desperate and in tears. And while the city authorities condemn the scuffles and vandalism, Tami Sawyer, the chief responsible for Shelby County and running for mayor of Memphis, defends the people who took to the streets. "Do not judge without asking yourself how a community has always been ignored and that once again it is forced to mourn the death of its young people".