After the publication of videos showing the brutal police operation against the black man Tire Nichols, the discussion about racism in the ranks of the police in the USA is in full swing.
The pictures, which were taken by so-called body cameras of the officers involved and a surveillance camera, show the police officers repeatedly hitting the 29-year-old with their fists and a baton and kicking him in the head. Nichols repeatedly calls for his mother. The African American died of his injuries three days after the operation. Police in Memphis yesterday (local time) disbanded the task force blamed for Nichols' violent death.
Biden is shocked
The officers were fired on Wednesday and charged with murder and other crimes. President Joe Biden was also shocked by the videos. In Memphis and other cities in the United States, mostly peaceful protests against police violence broke out immediately after the videos were released. On Saturday, people across the country took to the streets again.
In Memphis, protesters blocked a major highway on Friday. The situation in Los Angeles was tense after the video was released, when around 100 people protested in front of the city's police headquarters, according to information from the "Los Angeles Times". Police officers in protective gear and with batons confronted them. Hundreds of people took to the streets in New York. A total of three demonstrators were arrested in the east coast metropolis, the NBC broadcaster reported, citing the police.
Video shows brutality
Videos from the evening of January 7th show Nichols being pulled over in his car by police in the metropolitan area of Memphis. The officers - also black - pull him out of the car and push him to the ground. Nichols repeatedly asks the cops to stop. He's on his way home. "I haven't done anything." Eventually he breaks free and tries to flee on foot.
Nichols is then caught by emergency services at another crossroads. Several officers hold Nichols while other officers brutally beat him with their fists and a baton. Nichols moans and wails. He calls out loud for his mother several times. Two officers hold up Nichols' torso while a third officer kicks him in the head. They then drag the badly injured man to an emergency vehicle and lean his upper body against the side of the car.
Black Lives Matter denounces state-sanctioned violence
Lawyers for Nichols' family called the police's actions "racist". The fact that the police officers involved were themselves black doesn't detract from that, said a board member of the civil rights movement Black Lives Matter. Anyone working in a system that is anti-black and uses state-sanctioned violence is complicit in maintaining white supremacy.
Both white and black police officers exhibit similar attitudes and behaviors towards black people, sociology professor Rashawn Ray told the BBC. The officers brought shame on their families and the black community, Tyre Nichols' mother told CNN.
Memories of Rodney King
Deadly police violence is common in the United States. The victims are disproportionately black. In the past, such brutal police operations have repeatedly triggered violent protests. The death of the African American George Floyd in May 2020 led to nationwide demonstrations and sometimes violent riots.
Nichols' case is also often compared to the attack on Rodney King. King was brutally beaten by police in Los Angeles in 1991. He survived badly injured. According to a survey by the Washington Post, more than 1,100 people in the United States have been killed by police using firearms in the past twelve months alone.