Group collects signatures in an effort to recall Mayor Wharton

Group collects signatures in an effort to recall Mayor Wharton

(WMC-TV) - A civil rights group supporting the mother of a Memphis teen killed by a police officer wants to recall Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.

The group, Direct Action Memphis, had a run-in with police while Action News 5's cameras were rolling.

Police arrived to break up the protest on Knight Arnold Road in Memphis as the group tried collecting signatures to oust the mayor.

Direct Action Memphis founder Kennith VanBuren wore a sign that said, "Deadly Force is Legal Murder".

The group consisted of 15-year-old Justin Thomson's family members. Thompson was shot and killed by a Memphis police officer.

VanBuren said police told him the children, Thompson's brothers at the protest, must be in school.

"And the police officers told us we had to have a permit to exercise our First Amendment rights," said VanBuren.

Thompson's mother, Shirley, picked up the kids but did not take them to school. Instead, she took them to the corner where their brother died on Jenkins Street and Wooddale Avenue, where they collected signatures to recall the mayor.

"This is the top part of my life, what's going on right now. Getting this to the end," said Shirley Thompson. "They took this day off because my kids lost a brother and they're still grieving."

"Once we've gotten enough signatures, we're going to submit that to the Election Commission to try to get a special election to have a recall of Mayor A C Wharton," said VanBuren.

"I can understand their frustration and their concern. I'll be glad to sit down and talk with them," said Mayor Wharton.

Mayor Wharton said his office will work faster to get information out sooner on such cases, so ill feelings do not fester.

The FBI is investigating the shooting of 15-year-old Justin Thompson.

It is still not known whether the shooting was justifiable.

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