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VOL. 133 | NO. 127 | Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Strickland Defends Police Overtime for Personal Security

By Bill Dries

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Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland says he was reluctant initially to increase his security when he took office in 2016. Now in his third year of a four-year term, that has changed to include 24-hour police security on his home.

And the change includes more than $100,000 of Memphis Police overtime for the officer who is with him most of every day and another $100,000 for the police lieutenant supervising that officer and all police security at city’s government’s two buildings on the Civic Center Plaza.

“Not all of that is me because (the lieutenant) is not with me that often,” Strickland said Monday, June 25, as he discussed the security measures for his family and his home.

“When I started off as mayor I really fought back against the police department wanting to give me security all of the time,” he said. “Things changed when we had trespassers on our property looking in our windows and then the threats that I’ve gotten over social media.”

Strickland is referring to a “die-in” protest on his front lawn in December 2016.

“I don’t like it. I’m cheap. I don’t like to spend money that way,” he said, citing a $20 million line item in the Memphis Police budget for overtime.

Strickland also read social-media messages Monday sent to his office over the removal of Confederate monuments from two city parks a year later.

“I hope some sick m--- f--- blows this mayors skull to fragments on his door step,” an Instagram post under the name “ryannapp” reads. “a call to patriots JFK his bitch ass.”

A Facebook post before the statues were removed from the account “Antifa Memphis” includes a copy of Strickland’s home address. “If you don’t remove the confederate statue we will march on your lawn,” it reads.

“If it were just me or me and my wife, I wouldn’t worry about it,” Strickland said. “But I have two children and they were looking in the windows,” he said of the 2016 die-in. “Combine that with the threats we’ve gotten on social media – I think that’s really changed it. As a father, I relented to the police director’s recommendation that we have security at my house.”

“You yankee piece of s--- we know where you live,” read another post under the name Sunny South. “Hopefully, a bullet will find its way to your forehead and all of your family members will be killed,” read another, under the name Michael Livesay.

Another twitter account featuring a portrait of Confederate general, slave trader and Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest reads, “No man wrecks my grave and lives.”

“I know part of it is just our national discourse has really been brought down,” Strickland said. “I think social media makes it much worse because people say things on social media they probably wouldn’t say in person. But I think you also have to take it personally especially when you’ve got children like I do.”

PROPERTY SALES 69 163 12,921
MORTGAGES 35 85 8,088
BUILDING PERMITS 109 531 30,465
BANKRUPTCIES 18 85 6,149