A Black woman in Nashville, Tennessee has accused a Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) officer of racially profiling her during a traffic stop after video of the violent interaction surfaced. The video has sparked at least two investigations into Officer Barrett Teague’s conduct and has prompted the police department to decommission him.
Adreneyonia Ensley was with her family at a Z-Mart on Dickerson Road on July 3 when they were approached by an unmarked MNPD squad car, Ensley told WTVF. Ensley said the family had stopped at the gas station to buy some drinks but was instead pulled over by Teague, who claimed their vehicle’s tags were expired.
But Ensley said her tags were not expired. “I just went and peeked and walked back to the car and by the time I got to my seat he came up from behind me,” she told the news station. Security footage shows Ensley double-check the tags before Teague comes up behind her and throws her repeatedly against her car as well as another car at the gas station.
“There was no necessary reason for him to use that kind of force against me,” Ensley said. “It scared me senseless.”
Ensley’s boyfriend, Latraus Perry, is seen getting out of the car, but he opted not to intervene between her and the officer. “In my shoes, I could have done something that led to something worse. I could have been killed,” he told WTVF.
The couple was handcuffed and issued citations for resisting arrest. Ensley said her 18-month-old son was meanwhile forced to remain in the backseat of the hot car for several minutes.
“I had to kick and scream to get my son. He’s only one. It’s hot. The windows are up,” she said. Ensley claimed Teague being decommissioned was “a good start,” but believes that he should lose his job for his actions. She said she was targeted and treated unfairly because she is Black.
“It’s hard to trust police officers now that something like this happened,” she said. Ensley shared surveillance footage of the encounter on Facebook and proclaimed to be “taking this to the courts!”
MNPD said the department had seen footage of the incident and was “very concerned” about what the video reveals.
“The administration of the MNPD and Officer Teague’s supervisors at the East Precinct are very concerned with what the video shows,” MNPD said in a statement, according to Fox 17 Nashville. “Officer Teague was decommissioned Thursday afternoon (police authority removed). He has been assigned to plain clothes desk duty at another precinct.”
The police department said the Office of Professional Accountability launched an investigation into the incident and had reached out to Ensley.
The Community Oversight Board (COB) also started their own investigation after receiving video of the incident, Nashville Public Radio reported.
“After reviewing the video, which COB staff received from several sources, the Community Oversight Board staff has decided to initiate an investigation into the matter that occurred on July 3, 2019,” COB Chair Ashlee Davis said in a statement to WTVF.
COB Executive Director William Weeden told Fox 17 Nashville that the board is gathering information about the case, including police reports, surveillance video, and witness statements. Weeden said the group also plans to interview both Ensley and Teague.
COB hopes to conclude the investigation within 60 days, after which the results will be presented to MNPD. Weeden noted that the timeline is not final and may be delayed by subpoenas or other obstacles.
“We want to be as thorough as we can and as fair as we can, but also timely,” Weeden told WSMV.
According to WTVF, this is not the first time Teague has been disciplined for using excessive force. In 2018, MNPD suspended Teague four vacation days following an incident the department called inconsistent with their policy on the use of force.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.