By Kaylee Pearlman
MEMPHIS TN – Following the funeral of Tyre Nichols, 29, five Black Memphis officers were fired and charged with the murder, sparking talk about the color of police involved in the violence.
William Jones told NBC News that, when he was a teenager, “the police routinely used violence to break up their pickup football games…it was the Black officers who beat us worse.”
According to NBC, when Jones, “heard the identity of the officers charged in Nichols’ murder…he ‘was not surprised at all.’”
“If it doesn’t surprise us that a gang of officers would beat a Black man to death, then it shouldn’t surprise us that the gang of officers who did so were Black,” Jones said.
“Police are trained the same way no matter their race…and no matter their race, they belong to an increasingly militarized profession that engages the American public like enemy combatants,” he added, noting “we make it near impossible to hold them personally liable for any constitutional violations they unleash while in uniform.”
During the funeral, Rev. Al Sharpton stated “there is nothing more insulting and offensive to those of us who worked to open doors…that you walk through those doors and act like the folks we had to fight to get you through them doors.”
He added, “You didn’t get to the police department by yourself…People had to march and go to jail, and some lost their lives to open the doors for you, and how dare you act like that sacrifice was for nothing.”
Police Chief in Memphis, Cerelyn Davis, created the Scorpion Unit (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods), and, according to NBC News, “[it] appears to have falsely accused Nichols of reckless driving to justify its officers pulling him over.”
Davis, according to NBC, “has come under fire for creating the Scorpion Unit. And, “after Nichols was mercilessly beaten, footage captures Scorpion officers trying to justify their brutality.”
According to the New York Times, “a police report attempts to do the same.”
However, NBC News said the claims that “Nichols started fighting them and reached for one of the officers’ guns…aren’t supported by any video evidence.”
Maq Claxton of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance, stated that “it is unprecedented….(not) that you would have the victim be Black…but the multiple perpetrator officers are Black, and the police chief, the commander of the police force, is Black.”
NBC News concludes, “Whether it’s Peter Liang, the Chinese-American police officer convicted of manslaughter in the 2014 shooting death of Akai Gurley….or the Black and Hmong-American officers on the scene of George Floyd…we’ve seen a disturbing rainbow coalition of police officers involved in killing innocent Black people.”