Charles Blow on Tyre Nichols' death, and America's shame
Columnist Charles Blow of The New York Times offers his thoughts on the horrific beating of motorist Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers, and its aftermath:
How many Black death spectacles have we witnessed?
How many times, and in how many ways, have we seen police officers taking Black life in this country?
I've lost count.
The sheer volume is depressing and desensitizing.
The killing of Tyre Nichols now adds another sad and tragic data point to that long line of tragedies.
The televised countdown to the release of the video that captured his demise further made sport of his death, and devalued his life. It furthered the theater-making of Black people's pain, and it underscores America's perverse abandonment of the commitment it made to change, after the death of George Floyd and the historic summer of protest that it begat.
Tyre Nichols' death is America's shame, because America came to a full understanding that police violence was a problem, and then it simply walked away before the work was done and the war was won.
What we know about Tyre Nichols' death and the officers charged with his murderIndependent autopsy finds Tyre Nichols suffered "excessive bleeding" after encounter with police, family lawyers sayTyre Nichols' "creative soul" honored in wake of his violent deathMemphis police shut down SCORPION unit whose officers are charged in death of Tyre Nichols
COVID restrictions eased, and people snapped back to a normal that was numbed and nonchalant.
Poll-chasing politicians saw the winds shifting, and they shifted with them.
People ran from the possibility of being labeled "woke" or sympathetic to the increasingly unpopular slogan "defund the police."
For Black people, it reinforced the ideas that interest in the integrity of their personhood and its safety had simply been the fashion of the moment, that allyship could be transitory and transactional, and that politicians' commitments were not rooted in core values.
Tyre Nichols' death demonstrates that the killings of Black people continue, unabated. What has receded is America's commitment to do anything about it.
For more info:
Charles M. Blow, The New York Times
Story produced by Robbyn McFadden. Editor: Chad Cardin.
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Rep. Val Demings, an ex-police chief, calls Tyre Nichols video "shocking and appalling"