Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was killed in an incident involving Memphis police officers that has sparked a wave of outrage and investigations. What makes this case particularly complex is that the officers involved were Black too. The death of Tyre Nichols has raised questions about how people of color can perpetuate anti-Black systemic violence, even when they are members of the same community.
In the video, Tyre Nichols is shown being pulled out of his car, pinned to the ground, tased as he struggles to get away, and kicked after being chased by Memphis police officers. He had to wait 22 minutes for an ambulance to come and three days later, he died from the injuries. The FBI and Justice Department are now investigating the case, and the Memphis Police Department’s Scorpion unit, which the officers belonged to, has been disbanded.
RowVaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother, said that the fact that the officers were Black made it “even harder to swallow”. Her words have sparked calls for police forces to diversify, and for a deeper exploration of how people of color can perpetuate anti-Black systemic violence.
The Washington Post has published an article exploring the discrepancies between what Memphis police reported happened and what actually occurred, according to the video. They have also covered the disbanding of the Scorpion unit, profiled the city’s police chief Cerelyn Davis, a Black woman who took the job two years ago, and gathered complex reactions from Black Memphis residents to Nichols’ death.
This case highlights the need to understand the complexities of racism and police brutality. It is a reminder that we must work to combat anti-Black systemic violence, no matter who is perpetuating it.