Tyre Nichols Beating Fuels Calls for Broad Police Reforms

Many are still reeling from the death of Tyre Nichols, with protests across the nation and a renewed call for police reform. 

Over the weekend, protests erupted across the United States after the graphic video of footage police assaulting Nichols was released. Memphis police officers fatally beat Nichols. 

Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was pulled over on Jan. 7 for alleged reckless driving. Video footage shows that officers violently pulled him out of his car, pushed him to the ground, and fired a taser after him before he ran away. When officers caught up to Nichols, they beat him with a baton and kicked and punch him for about three minutes.

When more officers arrived on the scene, officials said, it took them another 20 minutes to get Nichols medical attention. He died in the hospital three days after the incident as a result of his injuries.

Protests erupted across the country from Memphis to New York City. 

Legal experts and civil rights advocates have said the harrowing video footage that showed a group of Memphis police officers delivering blow after blow to Nichols underscores the need for broad reforms of policing in the US.

The National outrage was palpable, with protesters demanding justice and accountability. 

The Memphis police department disbanded the special “violent crime” unit the five officers belonged to and said it will “discuss the path forward” for the department. 

But Nichols’ death is raising another element in the conversation around policing and race in the United States as a whole.

Nichols and the five officers are Black. The case has experts warning that the U.S.’s “historically biased culture of policing” puts Black Americans at risk, regardless of an officer’s race. 

Experts said that Black officers could still harbor racial bias that has been factored into law enforcement for years. The victim’s race plays a larger part than the officer’s race when looking at altercations with police. 

Meanwhile, Memphis city’s police chief says the incident “takes race off the table” in regard to issues and problems involving law enforcement.

Nichols isn’t the first Black man to die after interactions with police officers who are also Black. This latest attack has people turning their attention to the systemic biases that can be found within policing. 

Nichols’s death has once again renewed calls for Congress to address police reform.

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