2 men sue MPD over alleged 'excessive force' incident - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

2 men sue MPD over alleged 'excessive force' incident

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Two former Memphis Tiger football players are suing the police department for reportedly using excessive force.

The incident the two men are filing a lawsuit over was first reported by Action News 5 Wednesday night. They claim they were severely beaten by seven MPD officers, who are all now suspended as a result of the July 2011 incident.

More than a year and a half has gone by, but Pastor Quinton Lytle says this is the most difficult thing he has ever experienced.

His son, DuPree, and his teammate, Michael McDonald, were leaving Beale Street on the Fourth of July hours after MPD officer Timothy Warren was shot and killed.

DuPree Lytle and McDonald say they were viciously attacked and beaten while being arrested by seven officers outside the old EDU precinct.

"When I saw him, I was just so discouraged by what happened," said Pastor Lytle. "What did he do to get beat up so badly? I looked at his picture. I looked at Rodney King's picture and they were similar."

He continued, "My son, prior to this, he talked about being a policeman and now he said, 'Dad, I get terrified I'm riding down the street, a policeman pull up behind me, I get terrified.' Certainly when they are beating him that night I thought that I was going to lose my life."

"The only crime these two gentleman committed that night and the only reason they were attacked was that they were escorting two white women," said attorney Robert Spence, who filed the lawsuit.

Spence says his clients were talking two girls to their car when a stranger who did not identify himself yelled at them to "take your snow bunnies and keep it moving."

The complaint alleges the stranger, later identified as MPD officer Marico Flake attacked them first. He then reportedly got help from six other officers, whom Spence alleges were drinking alcohol at the time.

"The attack was vicious and brutal and criminal. It was criminal," said Spence.

District Attorney General Amy Wierich investigated the claims of excessive force but declined to prosecute the officers. Her office also dropped all charges against Lytle and McDonald.

"These individuals started out as suspects. Some kind of way it got turned around and now they're victims," said Michael Williams, Memphis Police Association.

Memphis Police Association President Michael Williams says Flake did identify himself as a police officer from the beginning and that Lytle and McDonald started the altercation. He also says all seven officers were required to get the two men under control.

"If these individuals would've said, 'Yessir, not a problem. We're going to go home,' then guess what, you wouldn't be sitting in my office right now," said Williams.

MPD disciplined the officers with administrative charges, suspending them without pay anywhere from four to 15 days.

"We don't believe it was excessive force. We don't believe that these charges should've ever been filed against these officers," said Williams. "We felt that they were operating within the scope of their jobs. And the city should have stood behind them."

But Spence disagrees.

The federal complaint seeks $2.5 million apiece for Lytle and McDonald.

Though he says the main goal isn't money.

"I really want MPD officers to treat citizens of this city with respect. The badge doesn't give you license to brutalize citizens. It doesn't," said Pastor Lytle.

We reviewed the personnel files for all seven officers. Internal affairs said its file on this incident was not yet ready for review.

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