Memphis, Tenn. ( Associated Press) – An unarmed black man has died after being videotaped by police. The officers involved are fired and charges are brought against them after a thorough review of the evidence.
This is more or less what black citizens in the United States can expect. Nationwide, police have consistently killed about three people a day since 2020, according to experts tracking these cases.
Tyra Nichols’ fatal encounter with police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, recorded on video released Friday night, is a stark reminder that efforts to reform police have not curbed an epidemic of brutality.
Nearly 32 years ago, the brutal beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles prompted a heartfelt call for change in police forces. But the case keeps repeating itself, with the deaths of Amadou Diallo in New York, Oscar Grant in Oakland, Michael Brown in Ferguson, and many others.
The 2020 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was so gruesome that it called for a national reckoning that included federal legislation and a show of solidarity from corporations and sports leagues on his behalf.
“We need public safety, don’t we? We need law enforcement to deal with widespread crime,” said Jason Turner, senior pastor at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis. swear an oath to do and serve us, should they misbehave with us for a simple traffic stop or a crime.”
Five black police officers were fired and charged with murder and other crimes in the Jan. 10 deaths of Nichols, a 29-year-old skateboarder, FedEx employee and father of a 4-year-old boy.
Officials from local police chiefs to the White House have said Nichols’ killing points to the need for bold reforms that go beyond simply diversifying the ranks and encouraging citizens to come forward.
President Joe Biden joined national civil rights leaders in a similar call to action.
“To bring about real change, we must be held accountable when law enforcement officers violate their oaths,” the president said.
Noreen Nasser and Adrian Sainz contributed from Memphis; Aaron Morrison in New York and Claudia Lauer from Philadelphia.