MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The attorney for one of the men accused of hitting a group of protesters with his vehicle in Cooper-Young last Friday says police should have arrested his client at the scene.
“The most interesting part of this case, and this is something I don't think I've ever said about any of my clients before, is that I'm shocked he wasn't arrested on the scene. I think that is what has caused such an uproar,” said Blake Ballin, who represents 26-year-old Beau Albauer.
Albauer is charged with three felony charges of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon and a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving.
A group of protesters supporting Black Lives Matter say Albauer, intentionally tried to hit them with his car near Cooper Street and Cowden on Friday night.
“Mr. Albauer was very confused in an intense situation,” said Ballin. “I believe some of the protesters were angry with him for being in the area in a vehicle."
Police issued Albauer a citation.
But neither Albauer, nor Anthony Marcuzzo, another driver accused of hitting protesters earlier that night, where arrested on Friday.
Police arrested Marcuzzo on Saturday. They arrested Albauer Tuesday.
Albauer's attorney says the affidavit indicates police had probable cause to make an arrest at the scene.
Ballin says while that doesn't make his client guilty, he says if he had a different skin color, he would have been arrested sooner.
"Mr. Albauer is white. I truly believe that if he had been an African American, with the accusations he is facing, he would have been ripped from his vehicle. He may have been thrown to the ground. He would have been taken into custody and immediately jailed,” said Ballin.
To be clear, he doesn't think his client is guilty. He says Albauer had no intention of harming anyone.
“Our position is, either the police completely mishandled this or they handled it perfectly because they don't have any evidence against him,” said Ballin.
Albauer is due back in court on June 22.
Marcuzzo is due back in court on June 29.
The Memphis Police Department did not respond to Ballin’s comments on Wednesday.
Following each arrest, MPD issued a statement that said despite neither driver being arrested at the scene on Friday, the investigations continued until all evidence was gathered.