McRae's attorney says video is not the whole story - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

McRae's attorney says video is not the whole story

Officer Bridges McRea Officer Bridges McRea

Memphis police officer Bridges McRae, under investigation for the taped beating of a trans-gender woman last February at the Criminal Justice Center, will have an administrative hearing next Wednesday.

Sources say McRae will likely be fired after the hearing.  Probationary officer James Swain has already been fired.

McRae is the officer seen in the video repeatedly hitting Duanna Johnson in the booking area at 201 Poplar.  McRea had arrested her for prostitution, but the charges were later dropped.

In the video, you can see McRea hitting Johnson with what appears to be handcuffs.  Memphis Police Association attorney Ted Hansom, representing McRea, said Thursday that handcuffs were not used as a weapon by the officer.

"Once it starts, the handcuffs were out to handcuff that person," Hansom said. "You don't have time to say let me put these down and then we will resume this."

Hansom said the video shows a different story when it is slowed down. He said it is clear Duanna Johnson could easily have been considered a threat, because she was in a secure area and was refusing orders from Bridges. 

Hansom said the video is not the whole story, and it will be his job to explain it all. 

"The way he is being depicted with just this video tape. It doesn't tell the story. It's the Rodney King approach. Lets look at a few minutes of video and make our decisions. It's not that simple," Hansom said.

The video shows McRae hitting Johnson in the face. She was also pepper sprayed. But it also shows Johnson hitting McRae at least once.

Hansom points out that there is no audio on the video so you do not know what is being said.

He also said McRae had reason to believe the 6 Feet 5 inch Johnson was a threat. Hansom said he has studied the video.

"I saw some actions on the complaining party. So if they are coupled with statements or prior conduct or dealing with this person and knowing the size of that person might put you in apprehension of what's going to happen," Hansom said.

Duanna Johnson says she believes she was treated the way she was because of hatred of people like her.


Click here to e-mail Janice Broach.

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