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Five African American Police Officers Charged For Murdering African American Tyre Nichols

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

Africa's Diaspora Communities January 28, 2023

Five police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, have been charged with second-degree murder of an African American man Tyre Nichols (29), reported US media on January 27, 2022. Paradoxically, all the charged police officers are also African Americans.

A police body camera video released for public view on January 27, 2023 (local time), shows the five police officers battering unarmed Tyre Nichols mercilessly after his automobile was stopped for suspected traffic offence in Memphis, on January 7, 2023. The police officers continued unleashing the severe beating on Tyre Nichols even after he cried in agony and made desperate verbal calls for his mom asking her for help. Three days later, he died in hospital from injuries he suffered from the battering.

The killing of Tyre Nichols by a group of African American police officers takes the issue of police brutality in USA to a different level. Particularly, hitherto this fatal incident, perpetrators of police brutality on African Americans and other people of African descent who are currently overrepresented in number of police brutality victims in USA, have been non-African American police officers. As such, many previous similar incidents have been linked to systemic racism.

However, this incident by which African American police officers did the same thing as their non-African American counterparts may cast doubts on the racist narrative, at least in its totality. What the incident probably suggests is that brutality culture within the police force in USA is endemic within the whole force with all its members subscribing to it irrespective of their ethnicity. Understanding about why the whole force seems to target African Americans and other people of African descent, especially men, remains circumscribed.

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