“Revamped police training hasn’t prevented the recurrence of brutality we’ve seen in the more than three decades since Los Angeles police officers beat Rodney King in 1991,” writes Richard Galant | Opinionhttps://t.co/28IogDxToi
— CNN (@CNN) January 29, 2023
*Warning: f-bombs straight ahead!
Like everyone I know, I am appalled at the newly released videotape of the murder of Tyre Nichols at the hands of five Memphis Tennessee police officers.
It was alleged that he was pulled over for “reckless driving,” but what followed far surpassed what should have happened if that was the case. The horrifically graphic video that comes with a trigger warning shows the 29-year-old being pulled from his car and asked the officers what he had done. Now, I don’t know about you, but on the few occasions I have been pulled over for exceeding the speed limit or having a brake light out, the officers have been polite, asking for license and registration. I was never asked to leave the vehicle either voluntarily or involuntarily. Could it be because I am white woman and not a Black man?
This was the timeline of Nichols’ death. He died on January 10, 2023, three days after being beaten by five Memphis PD officers during a traffic stop. The officers were fired on January 20th, and on January 26th, they were arrested and charged. I attempted to view the video on the news, but as was the case with the footage in which George Floyd was brutally murdered by police officers who either participated or failed to intervene, I had to look away. It kept playing on repeat on every news broadcast.
Call it collective action, bystander paradigm, or lapse in conscience. These officers took an oath to serve and protect. Who or what were they serving except their own power, ego, and rage? The officers, who are also Black, each face second-degree murder charges as well as charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression. Did they see a fellow human being when they confronted this young man who by all accounts was loved by family and friends and a four-year-old who saw his Daddy when looking at his smiling face? He was a photographer who viewed beauty through his camera lens and a skateboarder who “lived his best life.”
When he was at the mercy of the murderous police officers he called for his mother. How her heart must be breaking even as she asks for peaceful protests.
Based on observation, it would have been unlikely that the arrests would have been so swift, had the officers been white. And without the body cam footage, Nichols’ murder could have slipped into obscurity. What puzzles me is that these officers who have been charged with killing him knew they were being videotaped. Did they really think they would get away with their brutality? What switch must have flipped in their brains that told them what they did was acceptable? What the fuck is wrong with these officers? There are times when I lose faith in my fellow human beings.
On another topic, I saw a Facebook post this morning from another young Black man who I have known since he was a teenager. He had been walking home from work, speaking with a friend on the phone when someone yelled “Faggot!” at him. He was stunned, despite the fact that this was not the first time, nor sadly would likely not be the last time he had hatred hurled at him. He has received racist slurs over the years as well. This person is loving, intelligent, creative, outspoken about peace and social justice. What the fuck is wrong with the people who disparage this amazing person?
What the fuck is wrong with people who spew hatred toward anyone who looks, loves, worships, and votes differently than they do? (Although I am decidedly Liberal, I don’t hate anyone who isn’t.)
What the fuck is wrong with people who claim to be pro-life but are not concerned about the well-being of children once they leave the womb?
What the fuck is wrong with people who cover for abusive cops?
What the fuck is wrong with people who abuse others?
What the fuck is wrong with people who are homophobic (although we need to come up with another word, since I don’t think those who hate are afraid of queer people).
What the fuck is wrong with people who, despite validation from numerous courts and even some of those who are Republicans that the 2020 election was not stolen, cling to the Big Lie?
What the fuck is wrong with people who deny climate crisis, forgetting that we all drink the same water and breathe the same air?
What the fuck is wrong with people who dismiss accurate history and deny students’ right to learn it?
What the fuck is wrong with people who threaten or fail to protect LGBTQ+ students?
What the fuck is wrong with people who say they Back the Blue but showed up at the Capitol on January 6th, wielding weapons and assaulting police officers?
What the fuck is wrong with people who ban books?
What the fuck is wrong with people who use the word “woke” to describe anything that encourages social justice?
What the fuck is wrong with people who use religion as a weapon?
What the fuck is wrong with people who prioritize their interpretation of the Second Amendment over the safety of those anywhere, anytime?
What the fuck is wrong with people who support domestic terrorism and white supremacy?
What the fuck is wrong with people who take away a person’s right to choose whether they become a parent?
I would love to come up with an answer that will open hearts and minds so we need not ever again ask those questions.