(WMC-TV) - A group of rappers claim that some Memphis police officers took things too far while arresting two men during Trolley Night on South Main Friday night.
Friday's event included what is called "Cyphering," which is when rappers get together and freestyle.
"We just kick some flows at the top. Just rhyming. Just rhyming together," said rapper Knowledge Nick.
Knowledge Nick and a group of his friends and fellow music lovers gathered outside a boutique called Kpresha and spent nearly two and a half hours in harmony.
"No fights, no arguments, no drama, no negativity. It was all love," said attendee Darius Clayton.
This group says they were not bothering anyone, but that several police cars passed by without giving them a second glance. Near the end of their gathering, just as they were about to wrap up some officers stopped.
"What I saw that night was a group of officers walk into a situation, assess the situation without engaging," said witness Quinn McGowan. "They were going to show us that we had no choice but to do what they say as opposed to engaging us."
McGowan is among several who took out his phone and started recording video of the incident.
He says the group complied with officer demands, but the situation escalated out of control. Nike Sugarmon was arrested, charged with inciting a riot, accused of struggling with officers trying to handcuff him.
Jeffrey Lichtenstein is accused of recording the scene on his cell phone after officers asked him to leave six to eight times.
These rappers say they think the officers overreacted to everything. The arrest was called on camera.
"It happens far too much when it comes to hip-hop in this community. We've done so much to try to change how hip-hop is looked upon. Try to do a lot of really positive things for the community for years, and for this negative connotation to keep happening you get sick and tired of it," said rapper Preauxx.
They describe it as a bad experience, one for which they want answers. But they say will not change their love of cyphering.
Memphis police say a group of rappers have not filed a complaint with the department about what happened, but these rappers say they plan to do just that because they want the word out.
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