Last night was a night of outrage. Outrage at the brutal and violent beating that we witnessed when Memphis, Tennessee, law enforcement officials released inhumane footage of the fatal police beating of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died three days after a traffic stop on Jan. 7. The video shows officers using a taser on Nichols, hitting him with a baton and kicking and hitting him in the head. Some of his last words crying out for his mom.
According to Wikipedia Nichols was a member of the Skateboarding community, worked for FedEx and was an aspiring photographer. Nichols was raised in Sacramento, California, and moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 2020.
Officers, members of the SCORPION unit, otherwise known as the Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods, pulled Nichols over in a traffic stop Jan. 7. He was hospitalized in critical condition and died Jan. 10. Federal investigators opened a civil rights investigation Jan. 18. The officers were fired Jan. 20 and charged with murder and other related crimes Thursday.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump applauded the Memphis police chief and county attorneys for quickly taking legal action against the five former officers accused of murdering Tyre Nichols.
"We look at how swiftly the district attorney brought charges against them in less than 20 days," Crump said in a news conference. "We want to proclaim that this is the blueprint going forward for anytime any officers, whether they be Black or white, will be held accountable. No longer can you tell us we've got to wait six months to a year."
Today the SCORPION unit was permanently disbanded by the city.
In today’s episode we speak with Estes Park’s Chief of Police David Hayes about his reactions to the released video as the law enforcement leader of our community but also, and perhaps more importantly, his reaction to the behavior captured on the released videos, as a human being.
As I created the artwork illustration for today’s post. I had the lyrics of Bruce Springsteen and later Rage Against the Machine’s cover of ‘The Ghost of Tom Jode’ haunting my thoughts. I thought they were appropriate for today’s conversation.
Now Tom said
"Ma, whenever ya see a cop beatin' a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Wherever there's a fight against blood and hatred in the air
Look for me, Ma, I'll be there
Wherever somebody's strugglin' for a place to stand
For a decent job or a helpin' hand
Wherever somebody is strugglin' to be free
Look in their eyes, Ma, you'll see me
You'll see me