SOMERVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man whose violent arrest for alleged traffic violations is under investigation by state police said Monday that he was stopped because he was a young Black man driving a nice car.
Brandon Calloway and some of his family members spoke with an Associated Press reporter outside a courthouse in Fayette County, where he was scheduled to appear before a judge on charges filed against him in July. The hearing was rescheduled to Nov. 28.
Calloway, 26, was arrested by Oakland Police and charged with disregarding a stop sign, speeding, disorderly conduct and evading arrest. Video footage of the confrontation leading up to the arrest, which spread on social media, shows officers chasing him through his home, attempting to stun him, and beating him bloody before dragging him away.
One police officer has been placed on paid leave while the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation investigates the arrest. Once the TBI probe is complete, the state police agency will give the report to the district attorney, who will decide whether to pursue charges against the officers. The Oakland Police Department did not return a phone call seeking comment Monday.
According to a police affidavit, Calloway drove through a stop sign about 7:30 p.m. on July 16. He was then clocked driving 32 mph in a 20 mph zone (51 kph in a 32 kph zone) before an officer attempted a traffic stop. Calloway continued driving until he reached a house, where he pulled into the driveway and ran inside, the affidavit says.
The affidavit says that later Calloway and others were outside speaking with the first officer when a second officer arrived. The officers said they needed to detain Calloway, and he ran back inside the house. The officers kicked down the front door and followed Calloway upstairs, where he ran into a room and locked the door. Officers then kicked down that door, used a stun gun on him and began to hit him with a baton, the affidavit says.
The confrontation happened in Oakland, a small town about 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Memphis. Calloway, who runs a notary public business, said the beating left him with stitches in his head, speech problems and memory loss. He insists he would not have been stopped in the 2020 Chevrolet Camaro he was driving if he was white.
“I just happened to get stopped in a nice car and my dad lives in a nice neighborhood,” said Calloway. “That was the only crime right there.”
Calloway’s father, Ed Calloway, agreed, remarking that the situation “revealed the issues that we still have with the relationship between police and young African-American males, and this innate fear of being caught up in this situation.”
“If he was white, no, he would never have gotten pulled over,” and the situation would not have escalated like it did, Ed Calloway said.
Ed Calloway also said police unlawfully entered his house.
“It was my home, it was my door that they kicked in,” he said, adding that his daughter suffered trauma when she saw “her brother’s blood all over the floor, all over the walls, throughout the house.”
Brandon Calloway said he would like to see repercussions for the officers involved in his arrest. He said that he is feeling better from his injuries and is in therapy but gets “really bad anxiety” when he sees a police officer.
His lawyer, Andre Wharton, said he is seeking transparency and accountability from the TBI investigation so that the Calloways can reach closure after the “disproportionate response” by police.
“Closure comes when people realize that a system worked like it should — that it was open and honest and accountable,” Wharton said.