For every story of police brutality that gains national attention, there are several more that fly under the radar. Take, for instance, the story of Daniel Jefferson, who alleges that, after being arrested by Memphis Police in 2015 during a drug investigation, he was beaten up at the Raines police precinct.
“They beat me with chairs, ping pong tables; man, I had permanent boot marks on my back for months,” Jefferson told WREG in Memphis. Internal MPD documents detail Jefferson’s account and show that excessive force complaints were upheld for three of the five officers accused. Jefferson was arrested after allegedly firing shots at a plainclothes officer. “He jumped out on me with his gun, so I let off my shots, and I kept on going,” Jefferson said. Jefferson eventually went to prison on charges of aggravated assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm but the charge of attempted first-degree murder was dropped.
Jefferson was unapologetic about shooting the officer simply because he wasn’t aware of who he was. “I thought it was just a regular [expletive] — regular person trying to rob me,” he said. He did admit that if he was aware the man was an officer, his response would’ve been different. “I ain’t gonna lie, if I knew he was an officer, I would have surrendered. You know what I’m saying? I ain’t trying to shoot no police officer.”
He still has concerns about how much worse his situation could’ve been which, given everything we know, is completely valid. In the same year that Jefferson was beaten, Sandra Bland was killed found dead in police custody. While he has yet to file a lawsuit, Jefferson does want some compensation for what he endured. “They know they … have to pay [a] big boy bag of money, you hear me?”
While some of the officers were suspended due to the incident, it’s unclear if any of them are currently employed by the Memphis Police Department. MPD did not respond to Jefferson’s allegations when asked by WREG on Monday. It’s truly sad that Jefferson was beaten in custody and the fact he’s still alive is both a source of amazement and relief.