It always seems to begin with a routine traffic stop. A routine traffic stop is escalated by negligent police and another innocent Black person is murdered. This was the case for Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Daunte Wright, and now 29-year-old Tyre Nichols who was brutally beaten on January 7th during a traffic stop by five Memphis police officers. Nichols later died from his injuries on Jan.10th. According to Associated Press News, videos of the altercation and beating will be released to the public Friday afternoon. Nichols’ family compared the three-minute-long beating to the infamous beating of Rodney King in 1991, which sparked protests and riots across Los Angeles for six days. Memphis Police Director Cerelyn Davis warns against this kind of behavior stating, “None of this is a calling card for inciting violence or destruction on our community or against our citizens.”
On Thursday, the five officers who were involved in Nichols’ death were fired and charged with second-degree murder along with several other crimes that have not been released to the public. The five officers, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr, Emmitt Martin III, and Justin Smith are all Black, which exemplifies that police brutality is not exclusive to white officers. The entire institution of law enforcement is corrupt, and Black civilians are not safe in altercations with police no matter the background or race of the officer. According to 12TV, WJTV, officer Haley even has a history of brutality after beating an inmate unconscious while working at Shelby County Division of Corrections in 2016.
Nichols, according to TIME news, was a cheerful person that loved to skateboard and watch the sunset in local parks. Nichols also had a 4-year-old son. Before the fatal traffic stop, Nichols was reportedly driving back home after taking pictures of the sunset when officers stopped him for reckless driving.
There are still many unanswered questions concerning Nichols’ death and altercation with police that will hopefully be answered in the coming weeks. This tragic death is another reminder that even though the Black community has been fighting against police brutality for decades, our people are still being savagely murdered on the streets. Nichols’ family, along with the supporters of this case will be ardently waiting for justice in the coming months.
By Amaar Zarrieff, Freshman, Howard University
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