In a long string of high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of U.S. police, Tyre Nichols’ death in Memphis shared many of the same characteristics: violent traffic stops, enraged communities, video Critical release of the video. .
But this case was unique in another way.All five police officers Paid His murder is black.
It remains to be seen how the race of police officers will affect protesters on the streets, and how it will affect future jurors in court. They told USA TODAY that the race of the officers involved was far less important than the race of the victim. They say they are endangering black people.
“Black people and black police officers can have the same understandings and views of black people that white police officers have,” says Ralph Richard Banks, a law professor and professor at the Stanford Center for Racial Justice. said. “There is nothing that makes them immune.”
What the video shows: Memphis police severely beat Tire Nichols to death in a traffic stop
‘Greeting’ footage from the arrest: Tyre Nichols’ Family, Lawyer Ben Crump Speaks After Watching Video
Nichols’ death made national news headlines Friday night, even before Memphis police released raw video footage of Jan. 7. This shows the police trying to arrest Nichols at a red light and again after giving chase through nearby neighborhoods. Overall, officers beat Nichols with not only punches and kicks, but also pepper spray, tasers, and batons. Nichols screams for his mother as the cops beat him. They then support him as he repeatedly falls to the ground.
Police said Nichols was hospitalized in critical condition and died three days later. Preliminary findings from an independent forensic autopsy showed that Nichols “suffered profuse bleeding caused by the severe beating,” Nichols’ family attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci said in a joint statement. said in
All five officers were fired last week and charged with second-degree murder and other charges related to Nichols’ death.
‘Suspect’s race matters most’ Tyre Nichols cop is black
Black police officers have been accused of brutalizing or killing black victims in the past. His three of six Baltimore police officers charged with his 2015 arrest and subsequent death at age 25 Freddie Gray was black.
Gray’s death sparked days of rioting and looting, leading to an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. All 6 officers In that case, they were either acquitted or the charges were finally dropped.
Malcolm Ruff, trial attorney at Baltimore law firm Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, said, “I’m going to my neighborhood in Baltimore right now and seeing the problem of corrupt races and unfriendly police officers. If you ask them if they will, they will say absolutely not.I have represented the Gray family in a civil lawsuit.
“The absolute most important thing is the suspect’s race,” he said. “It’s a historically biased police culture that kills people. [Nichols].”
One notable difference, Raf said, was that the five officers involved in Nichols’ arrest were quickly fired and charged with serious crimes.
“When the cops are black, there always seems to be quick action,” he said.
Memphis police chief downplayed the role of race
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis called the officers’ behavior “incomprehensible” and “unconscionable,” but given that all five officers are black, race played a role in the incident. I underestimated my role.
“It takes issues and problems in law enforcement off the table. [are] About race,” she told CNN. “It’s not. It’s about human dignity and integrity, accountability, and our duty to protect our communities. We all have the same responsibility regardless of what we wear, so we take race off the table, but we also recognize that prejudices can also affect how we engage with our communities. is showing.”
Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, an online racial justice organization, called Davis’ remarks “very disappointing”. said it showed a systemic racial bias inherent in the police network that needed to be eradicated regardless.
“What this shows is that there is a serious problem that goes beyond black and white, and it’s about blue,” he said. It’s about structure.”
More Black Cops Can’t Fix Systemic Racism Alone, Activists Say
Robinson said the police have tried to diversify and recruit more black officers, but they have been unable to introduce and implement the structural changes needed to end racist policing.
One issue that should be thoroughly investigated is the specialized unit, the so-called SCORPION team, to which Memphis police officers belonged, which operated largely unsupervised and may have targeted communities of color. There is potential, says Hans Menos of the California-based center. For Policing Equity. (the unit is disabledMemphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Friday.)
“We don’t need to know the race of a policeman to know that there are five unsupervised policemen in our community who are being asked to file a lawsuit.” It’s coming out.”
Joanna Schwartz, a professor at UCLA Law School and author of the forthcoming book Shielded: How the Police Became Untouchable, argues that black police involvement takes race out of the equation and that victims of police brutality He said he overlooked the divide in who he was.
“After more research, I found that black people were more likely to be stopped, more likely to be searched, more likely to be assaulted, more likely to be killed. “There is nothing in our country that is separate from the issue of race. Neither is this.”
Follow Jervis and Guynn on Twitter: @MrRJervis, @jguynn.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY. Tyre Nichols is black, so are cops: What his death says about race