The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

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Tyre Nichols’ Death and Police Brutality

Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Tyre Nichols was a 29-year-old man who worked at FedEx, he also was a father. The father of a 4-year-old boy.

Tyre Nichols was the youngest of four siblings and has been described as joyful and spiritual.

On January 7, in Memphis, Nichols was pulled over by police officers claiming a traffic violation.

He died three days later in a hospital from injuries sustained from the beatings.

Surveillance camera footage and footage attached to the officers’ uniforms show officers trying to bring Nichols down with tear gas and a stun gun. Nichols tried to run away, but the cops were eventually able to stop him.

Afterward, the young man is seen moaning in pain as officers repeatedly punch and kick him while he is lying on the ground.

The newspaper The New York Times thoroughly analyzed the images of the incident and stated that Nichols received a barrage of orders that were impossible to follow.

“During the 13 minutes of martyrdom, there were 71 commands – mostly confused, conflicting, and unattainable.”

Orders were issued in two locations – next to the victim’s vehicle and in the area where he had fled and where he ended up being beaten.

They were often simultaneous and contradictory – they ordered him to show his hands, while they held his hands; they told him to stay on the ground, although he was already on the ground; ordered him to reposition himself even when he had no control of his body.

And even when he managed to do what he was asked, the officers responded with excessive force.

The point is, police in the US have been accused by human rights organizations of disproportionate use of violence against the black population in the country.

Nearly a third of all those killed by police in the US in 2021 were African Americans, even though they make up just 13 percent of the country’s population.

Matheus Fronza, an Economics/Latin American Studies major from Temple university shared a few of his thoughts on that with me.

“I think police brutality is one of the biggest civil rights issues in the United States, although segregation legally ended over half a century ago, a lot of African Americans are still treated as second-class citizens.”

Fronza continued, “They are systematically and disproportionately targeted by the police and oftentimes innocent people are murdered by those who are supposed to protect them. The police do not have the right to carry out death sentences and they should be reformed.”

Nearly 32 years ago, the violent beating of Rodney King by the LAPD sparked national calls for change.

These demonstrations against police violence and for a change in the police culture in the country have been repeated at an incessant pace since then – among the most famous cases are the deaths of Amadou Diallo in New York, Oscar Grant in Oakland, Michael Brown in Ferguson, and George Floyd in Minneapolis.