Tyre Nichols’ Funeral Included Calls for Police Reform
How long will this country go on this way?
I still remember the case of George Floyd and countless others who have died at the hands of police officers.
Sometimes, they were in possession of marijuana.
Sometimes, they were speeding.
Sometimes, they were simply walking to a store.
In every case, they did not deserve to be killed by the those who were supposed to protect them.
A lot of people bring up the issue that sometimes minorities are more disobedient of the cops than others and they speak back to them, without considering that this is probably for a very good reason: They are, more often than not, scared for their lives if they get pulled over for a minor traffic violation.
Maybe they run away to avoid being beaten, because they are being chased as if they themselves had killed someone, even if that is not the case.
Maybe they are compliant, but they are being faced with such intense discrimination that it doesn’t even matter if they attempt to follow conflicting orders yelled at them.
For decades, we have had a problem with policing in this country.
For decades, many have said it will change.
Innocent people, or people who have committed minor crimes that the vast majority of white individuals would get away with scot free, have been brutally murdered.
Yes, the police officers in the case of Tyre Nichols were black, but that is not the central issue here: The central issue is that policing often lends itself to a culture of unnecessary violence and brutality. Also, if you look at its history, the men in blue used to be slave catchers back in the day.
Clearly, these dated ideas about race — which is putting it sinfully lightly — have had a major influence on the police officers of today.
There is also arguably a tone of chauvinism here, since women were not included in the “men in blue” description and still struggle with sexism when joining the force today in more ways than one, which is a different issue, but there is is a common thread here: Oppression and ownership.
I don’t know what the answer is: Should we eliminate the police force? That seems extreme because we do need help when it comes to catching criminals and protecting our communities from crime.
Should we require that all officers undergo unconscious bias training? A growing number of police departments are already offering these programs, but it clearly does not seem like they are having the desired effect: There is still a lot of work to do, and we do not have time to waste as more people get killed at a young age when they could have lived for much longer and did not deserve to die simply because the color of their skin was darker than the majority, even if they did commit a minor crime.
What I do know is that Tyre Nichols did not deserve to be beaten to death. He was pulled over because he was (allegedly) driving recklessly. If that was indeed the case, this was a relatively minor crime, punishable by some jail time in the worst-case scenario. His mother did not deserve to lose her son. His father did not deserve to lose his kid. His older brother did not deserve to never see his younger sibling again.
The man had a four-year-old son who now has to grow up without a father.
He was a FedEx driver who was also an aspiring photographer, right in the stage of life where he was making his dreams come true.
He even had a tattoo of his mom because he loved her so much and he always wanted to have a reminder of her presence.
He was screaming her name the night he was brutally beaten over and over again, and the officers dismissed him for it.
I’m heartened that Kamala Harris spoke at the funeral.
I am relieved the people responsible are finally being held accountable and punished by the law in a timely manner.
Although I never knew Tyre Nichols personally, this story brings tears to my eyes, especially because this is not the kind of sordid tale we only hear once in a blue moon.
It’s a painfully common story, so much so that many black mothers and fathers fear the loss of a child every time they go behind the wheel.
They go to great lengths to instill the best practices in their children when it comes to safety protocols.
They might even teach their kid self-defense, because they are scared that they won’t come home if they get pulled over for speeding after a long day of work: No one deserves to die for speeding or driving recklessly. Perhaps they need to take a break. Perhaps they shouldn’t be on the road for the safety of themselves and others, but police officers are supposed to save lives, not take them away.
Walking down the street if your skin color is darker shouldn’t result in murder.
It’s just not right, and it never has been, but power-hungry people tend to have trouble changing their ways, and it is arguably instilled in our police to use excessive force — this is even seen as a sign of strength, especially for men it seems, even though it’s actually an expression of complete powerlessness and weakness as it shows such inhumanity toward another human being.
Perhaps the answer is to change the name itself and rewrite the rules.
After all, the police officers used to be slave catchers, meaning that they caught innocent people who were black for running to freedom, or attempting to — away from their white owners.
Clearly, that mindset has stuck, at least to a certain extent.
Rest in Peace, Tyre Nichols.
Rest in Peace, every black man and woman who has been killed at the hands of police officers in this country.
I can only hope we finally stop hearing these countless tragedies affecting the black community. These people have already endured far too much for far too long, and justice is way past due.
We should not wait until another innocent person dies before changing a system that is corrupt at its roots.
We cannot simply keep trimming the branches when the soil that feeds the roots which are responsible for the current tree was gathered from an evil place: white people oppressing black people, torturing them for reaching for their freedom, being angry when they achieved it, and brutalizing them as if having their autonomy was somehow a sin.
Notably, this is the first time a vice president has attended the funeral of a black person who was slain by the cops and called for police reform.
Kamala Harris has made history once again.