MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two security guards are accused of assaulting a woman and threatening a group of people after another guard tried to force them to pay to re-enter a downtown Memphis parking garage, police said.
Last Friday night, a woman and two friends parked in the First Parking Place garage at 21 N. Second St. They left the garage but soon turned around and walked back toward the car.
According to a Memphis Police officer’s statement, security guard Lee Topps stopped the group from entering and demanded $30 to get back into the garage. The woman refused to pay, claiming she was being hustled, and an argument ensued.
A second man, Matthew Jones, then walked up to the woman, claimed to be a police officer and told her she would be arrested if she did not leave. Jones was a security guard working at nearby Paula & Rayford’s Disco, but was dressed like a police officer, Memphis Police said.
The woman was suspicious and asked to see Jones’s badge several times, but he refused and covered up the badge, police said.
Jones then “slammed the victim to the ground in an attempt to handcuff her,” police said.
Topps called over a third security officer, Michael Taylor, for assistance. Police said Taylor was also dressed like an officer, including a badge around his neck and a leg holster.
As the woman tried to get away from the three men, she told police her dress was lifted to her chest several times, and she felt their hands “all over” her body. She broke free and the group got into her friend’s car.
Police said Jones then went to the front of the car, pulled his handgun on the victims and demanded they get out of the car. They refused until Memphis Police officers arrived.
Jones said the vehicle hit his leg when the woman’s friend attempted to drive his car out of the garage.
Police are reviewing security camera video of the incident.
Jones, 25, is charged with three counts of aggravated assault, criminal impersonation and carrying prohibited equipment.
Taylor, 23, is charged with misdemeanor assault and carrying prohibited equipment.
Topps did not appear in Shelby County jail records as of Thursday morning, indicating he was not in custody, but a sheriff’s office database stated a warrant had been issued for a person by that name on charges of assault and extortion.
Taylor is a licensed armed security guard with a Millington based security firm. MPD said the defendants were not employed by the department.
We made several attempts to reach the parties involved. The father of Michael Taylor says he’s waiting to review all the information before talking to us.
We also reached out to the manager of the parking garage for a comment but have not heard back.