MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A local professor is now offering a unique perspective to the unrest in Frayser after a 20-year-old was shot and killed by U.S. Marshals Wednesday night.
"Reactions to the events that happened last night demonstrate that we really don’t understand the primary issue between black communities and law enforcement,” said Dr. Duane Loynes Sr., Rhodes College professor.
Dr. Duane Loynes Sr. is an assistant professor of Urban Studies and Africana Studies at Rhodes College.
He's in the process of writing a book on the relationship between law enforcement and majority African American communities.
Dr. Loynes say there's multiple complex reasons behind why the chaos and violence unfolded in Frayser Wednesday night.
"Whenever you have a community that feels like they have few employment opportunities, few educational opportunities, when they feel like they’re not being heard... Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1966, 'a riot is the language of the unheard,” said Loynes.
Rather than demonize the Frayser neighborhood for the outburst and violence toward officers, Dr. Loynes says Memphians should listen to their concerns and try to help their community.
"How can we give them more opportunities? More hope, right? How can we give them day care programs so that parents can go to work and not have to worry about their kids? How can we change the culture, change the community so that when these incidents happen it doesn’t lead to the [conflict] that we had last night,” said Loynes.
He says the time to heal this community will be in the coming weeks and months, after the tensions have died down.
"The time to do it is in between shootings when we don’t have to deal with these violent actions. And we have to ask, what can we do to improve these communities,” said Loynes.