By The Vanguard Staff
SACRAMENTO, CA – “A system rooted in white supremacy”—according to the Greater Sacramento NAACP—make Black law enforcement “just as likely” as white officers to kill Black men, as they are accused of doing in Memphis earlier this month when former Sacramento resident Tyre Nichols died after five Black officers allegedly beat him after a traffic stop.
Video of the incident was released Friday showing the officers—now all under arrest and facing murder charges—attack Nichols, 29, who moved to Memphis in 2020 and still has family in Sacramento.
The Greater Sacramento branch of the NAACP Friday said, “We weep with the community here and in Memphis as we add the name Tyre Nichols, another local Black man killed by a system rooted in white supremacy.”
The Sacramento NAACP charged, in a statement, it “[c]ondemns institutional racism in law enforcement—Black law enforcement officers are just as likely to kill Black men as white officers because of assimilation to white supremacy roots.”
Nichols died Jan. 10 after being “brutally beaten by Memphis law enforcement. Our hearts and prayers go out to Tyre’s loved ones,” said the NAACP.
The GSNAACP did praise the Memphis District Attorney and police chief for “swiftly investigating, arresting, and charging the officers related to this heinous act.”
But they added that “we continue to watch closely to see whether these standards of civil servant accountability are applied consistently across racial lines,” suggesting white police officers aren’t pursued as aggressively as these Black officers have been in the Nichols’ case.
The NAACP noted, “The death of Tyre Nichols weighs heavily regardless of which law enforcement institution in this country caused his death. The Sacramento Region is no stranger to law enforcement violence. Black men are pulled over by Sacramento Police at a rate almost five times that for white men.”
The Sacramento NAACP added, “It took a federal lawsuit (Mays v. Sacramento) to hold Sacramento County and Sheriff accountable for inhumane treatment in the county jails—where almost 40 percent of the people inside are Black while the county’s Black population is only 11 percent.”
The NAACP argues, “When anyone joins that system, regardless of the race of the officer, they are indoctrinated to the traditions and practices of that system to maintain the status quo regardless of the person’s intent. That’s the nature of white supremacy culture—it lives in systems unless we actively
change the structure and cultures of those systems,” said GSNAACP President Betty Williams.
“Despite best efforts of de-escalation training programs, officers are trained to use the power of their badge and gun before responding with active care and humanity,” add local NAACP Vice President Tijuana Barnes.
“After Stephon Clark’s murder, the NAACP supported the family and then Assemblymember Shirley Weber in legislating changes in accountability standards with AB 392. We call for further policy changes that will reinvent policing culture and we endeavor to share our legislative successes with the Memphis NAACP to support their legislative efforts,” said Sacramento’s NAACP.
The organization said, “Major changes are needed in the roles, practices, and training of law enforcement. Policymakers should steer budgets to hold law enforcement accountable for the long term vision of public safety and create personally-accountable goals for officers to restore people to health (including) basic needs, economic and mental health, and medical care.”
The NAACP added, “Punitive accountability leads to the deterioration of all of the quality of life for entire communities. If we center health equity, cultural humility, human dignity, and restoration in the accountability structure of law enforcement, abuse of power diminishes.”
The group pledged to “continue to fight against these tragedies. We are shedding light on the changes states and communities must enact through policies and practices,” urging “peaceful” protests in Sacramento and other cities to condemn unlawful police actions.