Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Execution of Tyre Nichols

I doubt you can call me as a juror on this case. I've already made up my mind about what those five officers did to an unarmed Black man in Memphis Tennessee (via Jonathan Franklin and Emma Bowman at NPR):

Police said on Jan. 8 that Nichols was taken into custody after a traffic stop that involved two confrontations with officers. During the initial confrontation, Nichols fled the scene of the traffic stop, police said.

Following the arrest, Nichols then complained of shortness of breath, according to authorities, and was taken to the hospital in critical condition, where he died on Jan. 10.

His family has said the police beat him so severely that he was unrecognizable.

There was video, some of it from the body cams, one from a nearby street camera that the officers had to know was recording them (and they still didn't care):

In the videos, officers are seen dragging Nichols from his car and shouting profanities throughout the confrontation. An officer tries to deploy a Taser at Nichols and then begins to chase him on foot. "I'm just trying to go home," Nichols is heard saying. Later, officers are seen repeatedly kicking, punching and using a baton to strike Nichols as he lies on the ground. At one point he's heard yelling "Mom." Lawyers for the Nichols family says this encounter happened within 100 yards of the family's home.

The video is hard to watch. If you do, you'll notice the cops took turns beating Nichols.


Five cops, beating one unarmed man. If you've ever been bullied in school, you'll understand how overwhelming and terrifying that can be, getting ganged up like that.

Oh, he shouldn't have run, the defenders will opine. That just made the cops angry.

Bastards, listen up. Everybody runs when confronted with the possibility of death. Nichols must have sensed something was wrong, something was going on with these "officers of the law" that was going to end up with him bloodied and broken.

It was the cops who were over the line, not Nichols. And Nichols is the one who ended up beaten to death.

There are serious problems with law enforcement in our country. Our police aren't being trained to protect and serve, they're being trained to bully and intimidate. Our police aren't being trained to defuse situations, they're being trained to escalate to violence. Our police are getting hammered with the message that there's a war on the streets, that they're soldiers in an Us vs. Them struggle not only with gangs but with everyday citizens who can turn violent in a heartbeat. 

Everyone - who are poor minorities - are a threat to them now. It makes everyone - those poor minorities - a target.

And it doesn't matter to these police officers if they target unarmed Black men at night or broad daylight, they don't believe they'll get into trouble even as they administer beatdowns in front of street cameras or eyewitnesses. 

Our nation's law enforcement have learned nothing from Rodney King, from the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, from the execution of George Floyd, from the reckless murder of Breonna Taylor, none of that.

Unarmed Blacks are going to keep getting killed by systemic failure in our legal system - one driven by fear and racism and arrogance - on the part of law enforcement that ought to work to keep us all safe, instead of appointing themselves executioners.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

The fact that they killed him validates his decision to try and flee for his life. It was obvious from the little bit of it that I saw that no amount of submission on his part would satisfy those murderous bastards.
And rather than retype my thoughts on this, I'll just repost my comment from the Field Negro. I do not apologize for the entirely appropriate language:

Some of the pictures of him included a Peavey speaker cabinet, so I'm guessing he may have also been a musician.
And listen to the goddamn racists saying that the pigs were Black so this couldn't be racism while the very racism they deny gets said pigs fired immediately and charged with second degree murder when white pigs doing the same heinous bullshit would still be on the payroll and the trial, if it ever happened at all, would be two years later when "things had calmed down" and they could get a more favorable jury.
And fuck those "elite police units" like the goddamn SCORPION. I had the OHBTF kick in my back door on MLK behind the MacArthur BART station twice over nothing.
As they said at the time "You're white in this neighborhood, you must be a crack dealer." No, officer, I'm a musician in Oakland, meaning I'm too poor to live anywhere else.

-Doug in Sugar Pine