Benjamin Bates Data News Weekly Contributor
Black and Blue
The fatal police beating of Tyre Nichols, 29, have caused outrage and calls for justice. It is another example in the lives of Black people in which a routine encounter with police can turn deadly.
According to family attorney Ben Crump, Nichols was returning from Shelby Farms, a large parkland east of Memphis where he was taking photos of the sunset. Then the unimaginable happened, where he was stopped by Memphis police officers, and the five officers savagely beat him, and three days later he died from his injuries.
The Fallout and Charges of Murder
This has again made the country revisit and question how those who are charged with protecting and serving abuse their power by using excessive force.
While this is not a new phenomenon questions are beginning to arise around the issue of police reform.
The fallout after this horrendous occurrence continues where the Memphis Police Department said a seventh police officer who responded was relieved of duty. Also, three members of the EMT have been relieved or dismissed surrounding the part they played in Nichols death.
Leaders Call for Police Reform
This case is one that revisits the worse of police behavior with people on both sides of the political spectrum calling the actions of the officers excessive and unnecessary. Additionally, there have been louder calls for police reform measures to stop this from occurring in the future.
Leaders from the civil rights as well as elected leaders are demanding that it becomes a high priority of President Biden and his administration.
President Joe Biden spoke with the family to give his condolences, and said it is time for the nation to do everything to ensure that the Criminal Justice System give equal protection to all.
“I spoke with the family of Tyre Nichols on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus to extend our condolences to them, and to let them know that we stand with them to honor their son’s legacy and extend them an invitation to be our guest at the State of the Union on February 7th so that we can make sure that this issue of police culture has now contributed to countless deaths” said Steve Horsford, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Marc Morial, President & CEO of the National Urban League says he was sickened by the footage of Tyre Nichols. In a statement he said, “Excessive force doesn’t begin to describe the inhumane violence these officers inflicted on a terrified and defenseless young man who posed no apparent threat to anyone. My heart goes out to Tyre Nichols family, whose grief and trauma at this moment are hard to imagine.”
A Call for Justice
Police violence against unarmed Black men that are not an imminent threat is not new. It is part of a history of the police where the rights and humanity of Blacks are not considered.
From the NAACP that fought to stop lynchings of Blacks, today groups are letting their voices be heard about the atrocities of police violence on a local, state and national level.
Melanie Campbell, President & CEO of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable issues the following statement following her seeing the Memphis Police video footage.
“I stand with the Black community as we once again bear witness to yet another police killing of an unarmed Black man. Tyre Nichols’ death is a tragic reminder of the systemic racism and violence Black men and women face every day. We pray for his family and stand with them in their fight for justice.”