Elvis Express Radio News
Elvis Express Radio brings news of Elvis releases and provides free online entertainment & news to fans around the world.  We DO NOT sell any Elvis products.
THE COALITION OF CONCERNED CITIZENS ADDRESS EPE & MAYOR
December 19, 2016  -  Commercial Appeal  /  Elvis Express Radio---
More than a dozen protesters demonstrated early Monday morning outside the home of Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, including some who lay down on his front lawn.

Keedran "TNT" Franklin, of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens organization, narrated a Facebook video of the demonstration, saying the city is slowly being killed "with poverty,
poor education and poor police relations."

The demonstration, which the coalition referred to as Operation Early Christmas, came after protesters were blocked from a vigil on Aug. 15 outside Graceland. The coalition sent a
letter to Strickland and Elvis Presley Enterprises President and CEO Jack Soden referencing the Aug. 15 event before protesters went on Monday to Strickland's house.

The coalition said Elvis Presley Enterprises and the City of Memphis "colluded in the violation of the First Amendment rights of many citizens by not allowing them passage on a
public, federally funded street."

"On August 15 of this year, the Memphis Police Department, being directed by EPE, acted as private security for EPE by ensuring that citizens were not allowed access to Elvis
Presley Boulevard," the coalition said. "When confronted with their decision to violate the law of the land, each entity shamelessly participated in the buffoonery of a comedy routine
by each quickly pointing the finger of blame at the other."

Coalition of Concerned Citizens letter

As thousands of fans gathered for the annual Candlelight Vigil to remember Elvis, protesters affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement were blocked by police and barricades.
The coalition, which has protested against the killings of black people by police across the country, had posted “no justice, no Elvis ” to social media and called that demonstration
Operation Blue Suede Shoes. They emphasized economic issues, saying that Memphians are “broke, over policed and under educated."

Elvis Presley Enterprises didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

One person at Monday's demonstration held a sign in the shape of the grave that read "R.I.P. First Amendment," while another sign read "Would you rather we die."

Video of the demonstration showed more than 15 protesters in and around the mayor's property. Strickland described the group as "about seven trespassers at my house this
morning — including some who appeared to be attempting to look in my windows — in an apparent attempt to seek attention from the media."

"It appears they are receiving it," he said in a statement. "Our administration continues its work, which is focused on making life better for every single Memphian."

Franklin said about 20 people protested from 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Memphis police Lt. Karen Rudolph said police are aware of the demonstration.

"We are monitoring the situation and will have additional patrols assigned to the area," she said.

The group also plans to go see Soden and Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings, Franklin said.

He said police come to their houses, so "We're going to start come seeing y'all."
Left: Demonstrators stage a 'die in' in Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland's front yard.
Right: By order of EPE, Memphis Police block protesters from walking down Elvis Presley Boulevard in August 2016.