The recent tragedy in Memphis involving the death of Tyre Nichols has once again sparked a divisive conversation about the role of race in our society. Five Black former officers are now facing murder charges due to the death of Tyre Nichols. The body camera footage from the incident was released on Friday, showing several officers beating and striking Nichols with a baton multiple times.
One body camera video shows an officer using pepper spray and another using a baton while striking Nichols. The footage also shows Nichols being punched, kicked, and tased by officers and later complaining about shortness of breath. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed that he was transported to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition and died on January 10.
The incident has also led to the suspension of two Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies who are now under internal investigation.
Although the five officers accused in this case are Black, there have been attempts to bring White supremacy into the conversation.
Writer Jemele Hill tweeted that the entire system of policing is based on White supremacy. “We see people under the boot of oppression carry its water all the time,” she added.
Imagine being a professional race baiter as a career choice.
— Marcus Cromwell (@JupiterIncident) January 27, 2023
CNN’s Van Jones suggested that racism played a role in the incident. He wrote in an op-ed arguing that while Black police officers were involved in the incident, it may still have been driven by racism. “Black cops are often socialized in police departments that view certain neighborhoods as war zones. Cops of all colors, including Black police officers, internalize those messages—and sometimes act on them,” Jones said.
An “expert” on MSNBC even pointed the finger at Republicans in Congress, even though Democrats have continually blocked meaningful police reform legislation proposed by Senator Tim Scott.
CBS News even turned to the controversial “1619 Project” to connect modern policing to slave patrols.
Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) initially posted a tweet claiming that the death was a result of white supremacy but later deleted the tweet. Former Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-NY) also appeared to suggest that racism was a factor. Filmmaker Bree Newsome tweeted that racism is inherent in policing and that diversifying the police force will not solve the problem.
These voices have claimed that “whiteness” is a pervasive force in our society, affecting white people and people of color. They have pointed to displays at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture and even suggested that people can take courses to heal themselves of this inner “whiteness.”
White woman claims that white supremacy, and not police, is to blame for Tyre Nichols’ death.
Tyre was murdered at the hands of 5 black police officers. pic.twitter.com/TumahZ0sDd
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) January 29, 2023
All Americans must reject the divisive rhetoric that seeks to blame entire systems or groups for the actions of a few individuals. Instead, we must focus on finding solutions that ensure justice for Tyre Nichols and could bring qualified and competent police officers and recruits back into public service.