MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man who police said drove into a group demonstrating on Cooper Street on Friday has been taken into custody.
Beau Albauer was booked into the Shelby County Jail early Tuesday morning and charged with reckless driving and three counts of felony reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon.
According to the police affidavit, Albauer encountered the protesters and became upset that the streets were blocked off to traffic. Sometime later, as the group was standing at the intersection of Central and Cooper, Albauer accelerated at a high rate of speed toward several individuals that were acting as traffic control.
They told police they “had to make sudden evasive maneuvers to avoid being hit as the driver deliberately drove towards them.”
One of the witnesses was attorney Michael Working, whose office is located north of the incident area on Cooper Street.
Working and his wife were watching the protesters march by when she saw some of her high school students in the group. She joined them and Working followed from behind.
He said four cars tried to hurt people during the protest. He tried to direct one away from the crowd.
“I was definitely concerned for the safety of the people who are out there,” he said.
The situation escalated shortly after when he saw a black car coming toward the group.
“This guy tried to drive into a crowd of about 50 people,” he said.
In the aftermath, Working said he tried to calm people down and told them police would take their statements and then investigate the driver.
But that didn’t happen.
“About 10 or 15 minutes later when the crowd had moved away, the police were letting him go,” Working said. “I said you’re kidding me. You’re not really letting this guy go. They wouldn’t talk to me. Then I started identifying myself as an attorney.”
Working said police questioned the drivers after he identified himself.
“They were just covering themselves at that point,” he said.
He said officers then got the driver’s name and gave Beau Albauer a traffic citation for running a red light.
Later, when Memphis Police drafted an incident report, they put Working’s name at the top under the section labeled, “brief description of incident.” They also listed him as a victim. Working said he was speaking up for what he saw happen to others.
The DA’s office charged Albauer three days later.
WREG went to Albauer’s Memphis home Tuesday to get his side of the story but no one answered. A neighbor of three months described Albauer as a nice man.
“I don’t think he’s a racist type person from what I could tell. That’s really all I know,” the neighbor said.
Initial reports from police indicated that several people surrounded the car and threw bottles at it. Albauer told police that he continued driving because people were running after him and throwing things.
Officers also wrote in the incident report they saw people in the crowd throwing bottles toward his car.
Albauer didn’t hit or injure anyone, witnesses said.
A witness told WREG that one person threw a water bottle at the car in an attempt to get him to stop from potentially hitting people. The witness also said there were only a few people in the crosswalk and it would not have been possible to “surround” the car.
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich released the following statement to WREG about the arrests of both Albauer and Anthony Marcuzzo:
“Charges in these two cases were filed independently of each other, based on extensive reviews of the available evidence, circumstances, witness statements and videos from each. We urge any witnesses with information – especially a crossing guard/crowd marshal at the incident at Central and Cooper – to call Memphis CrimeStoppers at 528-CASH (2274).”