(Just as a neighborhood should not be judged by the actions of a few bad apples, neither should law enforcement agencies. The New Tri-State Defender' "Good Blue & You" column spotlights law enforcement officers who do it right. This week's focus is on Shelby County Deputy Charllai Wooten.)
No stranger to learning, Charllai Wooten graduated from Central High School (Class of 2000) and earned a criminal justice degree at the University of Memphis in 2008. True to her degree, she quickly found herself working for the Shelby County District Attorney's Office, where she learned even more while applying all that she knew for four-plus years.
The years spent studying and working in the field of criminal justice came in handy when she joined the Shelby County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) in 2013, landing on the Shelby County Schools "Rapid Response Unit." But before we get to that, let's pick up with Wooten the soldier, who was dispatched to Egypt seemingly in the blink of an eye.
Why, asked a reporter at a Friday press conference, did none of the African-American "leaders" recently interviewed by her news outlet not come down on Commissioner Henri Brooks for remarks made while challenging the award of a county roofing contract to a firm with no African-American roofers?
"We identify with what she is talking about," said the Rev. Dr. L. LaSimba Gray, the Memphis head of Rainbow PUSH, one of three groups and several ministers who called the conference at Cane Creek Baptist Church.
"During the civil rights movement we didn't all agree with Malcolm X, but we didn't challenge Malcolm X because Malcolm X spoke truth to what we were living with every day. And what Henri Brooks was speaking to is what we live with every day," said Gray.