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Fired Memphis police officers charged in death of Tyre Nichols


Five Memphis police officers were fired and arrested this week for murder following the death of Tyre Nichols, a young Black man who had so much to live for. 

The five officers were all Black and looked like Tyre. They could have been a brother, uncle, or other relative to young Tyre, but instead, they chose to be his executioner.

The officers are accused of attacking and inflicting a horrendous beating that led to Tyre’s hospitalization and death three days later. We use the word attack, but what the incident reflected was worse than an attack. It was heinous, barbaric, inhuman, indecent, and a clear example of man’s inhumanity against man.

Yes, five Black men with badges turned into a brute squad or street mob as they kicked, beat, punched, pepper sprayed and tasered Tyre. Absent was their humanity as what we saw in its place were animals – drunk on adrenalin or something stronger- that could not differentiate right from wrong, that did not know what they were doing was wrong, that did not realize as they administered each blow that they were killing Tyre. 

No one among the five officers had the decency, backbone, or “balls” to step up and say no, to throw themselves between Tyre and the blows he was taking, to try to save his life.

Having watched the video of the beating of Tyre at the hands of these Black officers, like most people, I am left feeling disgusted with seeing the brutalities they were willing to inflict on Tyre. These officers looked like animals – not humans – as they jumped around,  switched places, and held Tyre down to carry out this murder. There are no words that can describe what I saw or erase it from my brain, as much as I have tried.

The officers have suggested that they pulled Tyre over because of reckless driving, yet the Memphis Police Chief said no footage of what the officers alleged could be found among the various traffic cams they reviewed. Who knows what the police report of the incident contained, but what should have occurred that night by the Chief was a demand that these officers be drug tested because they looked like a street gang hyped up on something.

As usual, protests and demonstrations have erupted around the country yet again as people are drawn back into the same narrative of police officers killing innocent Black people. Many of us are left with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as we witness yet another episode of something so horrific and unimaginable. These feelings of helplessness are all too familiar and keep revisiting us with such a rapid and feverish pitch.

Any one of us could be Tyre at any given time when you have animals and murders with a badge (Black or White) who feel like they can inflict this kind of heinous damage on another with immunity. To add insult to injury, two of the five have pleaded not guilty through their lawyers. As Richard Pryor said in one of his skits, who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes. I believe my eyes cannot unsee what they did . Each time they hit and kicked him, I felt the blow and am left sadden and shaken by this.

If you picked an adjective to describe how you are feeling right now, you won’t be off the mark with the emotions and reactions of most caring Americans who find themselves wrestling with a sea of emotions after watching the officers beat Tyre to death. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, anger and resentment, consternation and trepidation, disillusionment and incomprehensibility come to mind, but there are more. Horror, fear and terror grips your spirit, your very soul, when you realize that this could have been you or someone you loved crying out for Mama while being tortured and brutalized to death.

Please be safe family because at any given time we all could be the next Tyre.

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