Officer seen punching suspect will not face administrative investigation

Officer seen punching suspect will not face administrative investigation
DeShannon Smith (Source: MPD)
DeShannon Smith (Source: MPD)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Memphis police officer seen punching an 18-year-old in a cell phone video will not face charges.

Memphis Police Department said the officer responded to a 911 call on South Parkway East.

Once there, officer Jhukuruin Cole was told that DeShannon Smith was sexually assaulting a young woman.

Cole detained Smith. While in custody, Smith refused to answer any questions or even tell the officer his name.

When Cole tried to handcuff Smith, Smith grabbed officer Cole, tried to flip him onto the ground, ripped his radio off his uniform, and tried to run away.

A bystander filmed part of the encounter. We showed the video to Mike Williams, the head of the Memphis Police Association. After viewing the video, Williams said the entire incident could have been prevented.

"All of this could have been prevented, simply by compliance," said Williams. "I saw that the suspect was resisting, number one. The officer has the right to defend himself and he used the amount of force necessary."

Memphis Police Department investigated the case and determined officer Cole used an appropriate amount of force to detain Smith. Cole will not face an administrative hearing.

The suspect's family disagrees with the MPD decision and says the officer used excessive force.

"It ain't justified for police to be beating on our children," said Emma Wilson, the suspect's grandmother. "He was supposed to know how to take him down and handcuff him."

MPD said the short video that is available online does not show the entire encounter.

Wilson said that what happened is a lesson for her grandson.

"I want him to learn something out of here. You're a child and when an adult is speaking to you, humble yourself, hear what they got to say," said Wilson.

Smith was eventually taken to jail and charged with two counts of aggravated assault.

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