MPD unit could target teens for clothing, music, dancing in Downtown


The Memphis Police Department's Juvenile Crime Abatement Program is billed as a way to curb juvenile crime in the downtown area, but documents obtained by The Commercial Appeal point to elements of profiling and pretextual stops.

The Memphis Police Department is introducing an eight-officer unit that will arrest unaccompanied minors who sell food, play loud music, are “inappropriately dressed” or dancing in the street in Downtown Memphis, a PowerPoint presentation obtained by The Commercial Appeal said, and a video from the department later confirmed.

The unit, called the Juvenile Crime Abatement Program, is described as a response to “an influx of juveniles gathering on weekends in the Downtown Entertainment District.” The presentation cites that more than 60% of thefts in Downtown Memphis can be attributed to minors, but does not compare that to the thefts around the city.

“To combat this problem, N. Main Station has created a Juvenile Abatement Team to address juvenile truancy, curfew violations, and other criminal activities committed in the downtown area,” the presentation read. “Officers will professionally encounter any person that appears to be a juvenile who is not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.”

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