(Article by Chris Menahan republished from InformationLiberation.com)
Opinion: The police who killed Tyre Nichols were Black. But they might still have been driven by racism
by Van Jones
Updated 7:13 PM EST, Fri January 27, 2023
Three decades ago, when four White Los Angeles police officers were videotaped beating Rodney King, the public outcry was heard around the world. [...]
From the King beating to the murder nearly three years ago of George Floyd, American society has often focused on the race of the officers — so often White — as a factor in their deplorable acts of violence.
[...] One of the sad facts about anti-Black racism is that Black people ourselves are not immune to its pernicious effects. Society's message that Black people are inferior, unworthy and dangerous is pervasive. Over many decades, numerous experiments have shown that these ideas can infiltrate Black minds as well as White. Self-hatred is a real thing.
That's why a Black store owner might regard customers of his same race with suspicion, while treating his White patrons with deference. Black people can harbor anti-Black sentiments and can act on those feelings in harmful ways.
[...] Regarding the officers' race, [Nichols' mother RowVaughn Wells] also noted to CNN that violence like what happened to her son is about how some bad cops use their power over Black and brown victims.
From The Independent:
Pointing out that the officers involved in Tyre Nichols’ death were Black is a dangerous distraction
The fight against police brutality has never just been about white cops or racist cops
by Nylah Burton
[...] The police officers who killed Nichols are Black, which has prompted many people - particularly online - to attempt to counter the idea that his death is linked to systemic racism and police brutality in the law enforcement system. Not only is this a simplistic and illogical argument, but it’s one meant to distract us from our fight. The fight against police brutality has never just been about white cops or racist cops. It’s about how the entire system encourages all those who join it - no matter what their own racial background - to dehumanize and target people of color.
All of the officers involved in Nichols’ death, who have been fired and charged with second degree murder, were members of the Memphis Police Department’s SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in our Neighborhoods) unit, a type of policing associated with discriminatory stops and searches in low-income, Black and Latinx neighborhoods. Tyre Nichols’ family attorney, Antonio Romanucci, has urged the Memphis Police department to disband the unit.
In his call to action, Romanucci said SCORPION units "wind up oppressing the people that we care about the most — our children, our young sons and daughters, who are Black and brown, because they are the most vulnerable.” This is a systemic problem that goes beyond the race or ethnic identity of the police officers involved in this tragedy. It is shockingly easy, in the leviathan of unjust systems, to train people to hate their own, to detain their own unlawfully, to abuse them, and end their lives.
If anything, the fact that the officers who beat Nichols were Black themselves should prove to us that this fight is even more urgent, that change needs to be even more radical. This is not a problem that can be reformed, that can be chipped away with initiatives like diverse hiring practices or racial sensitivity training or body cameras. The law enforcement system in our country is rotten and evil. Defunding the police and prison abolition are the only paths forward that offer any kind of moral clarity, any kind of hope for freedom. Black people have suffered so many indignities and cruelties at the hands of this racist state, for centuries. No matter what race the foot soldiers are, the system is irredeemable and must be dismantled.
The Atlantic contributor Jemele Hill also said white people are to blame:
I need so many people to understand this regarding Tyre Nichols. Several of the police officers who murdered Freddie Gray were Black. The entire system of policing is based on white supremacist violence. We see people under the boot of oppression carry its water all the time. https://t.co/H11cuzHPxC
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 27, 2023
As did Florida Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost:
Doesn’t matter what color those police officers are. The murder of Tyre Nichols is anti-Black and the result of white supremacy.
— Maxwell Alejandro Frost (@MaxwellFrostFL) January 28, 2023
Update: Frost just deleted it.
It goes on like that forever.
No matter the facts of the case, white people are always to blame.
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