No Surprise in Misuse of Power by Black Officers
It is extremely disturbing to hear that five African-American police officers abused their authority and physically assaulted Tyre Nichols. This incident shows that police brutality and abuse of power can happen to people of any race. During an arrest of Nichols in Memphis, police reportedly used a stun gun multiple times and slammed his head into the ground. To add insult to injury, Nichols was also cited for public intoxication and disorderly conduct after he resisted arrest.
Any officer who violates the trust of the people they are sworn to protect by acting inappropriately or abusively is a bad cop, period. To ensure that similar incidents do not reoccur in the future, it is critical that we continue to hold all law enforcement personnel accountable for their actions.
It’s embarrassing that black police officers used excessive force against a fellow minority. Many in the black community probably weren’t surprised by this result anyway, given the stereotype that black police officers are harsher with their own kind.
Although they have spoken out in the past when non-African American police officers were involved, the group Blue Lives Matter has been unusually quiet in response to this incident. For officers of color, this highlights the tension between their personal identities as people of color and their professional roles as law enforcement professionals. What’s interesting is that Blue Lives Matter seems to set itself apart from the injustices that occur when officers of color commit crimes.
Officers have been removed from duty and indicted on murder and kidnapping charges at this early stage of the investigation. Since police officers are tasked with serving and protecting the community, this is obviously a major issue. This incident highlights the need for more federal oversight of local police forces. All involved law enforcement officers should be held accountable, and preventative measures put in place.