Today, we take a closer look at the issue of police brutality and the deeply ingrained racial biases that fuel it. Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was severely beaten by five Memphis police officers during a traffic stop in January. This tragic incident has highlighted the systemic racism that exists in police forces across the U.S., and the need to address it.
University of Michigan social psychologist Tyre Nichols and his colleagues have studied racial bias and its effects on police-community interactions. They have used police body camera footage and community surveys to analyze behavior, and have tested real-life interventions with a police force in a large city. Their research has revealed that Black drivers are more likely to be stopped, searched, and killed during a police encounter.
In an interview with Scientific American, Tyre Nichols discussed the evidence that police officers are harsher toward Black drivers, the potential reasons for this, and how traffic stops can be used to intervene against bias. He highlighted the importance of diversifying police forces, as well as making policy changes that focus on the structure of the institution and interactions between officers and the public.
The case of Tyre Nichols has highlighted the need to address racism in policing, and the research and interventions of Tyre Nichols and his colleagues have provided some possible solutions. We must continue to work to eliminate implicit bias and create a more equitable system.