The latest case of police brutality triggers tension in the US

The latest case of police brutality triggers tension in the US

USA Hold your breath this Friday. The authorities of Memphis (Tennessee) they will publish at 7 pm (1 in the morning in Spain) almost an hour from video images that show with anguishing and outrageous crudeness, as has been anticipated, as five black police officers They gave on January 7 a brutal paliza a Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man, also black, who he died three days later.

Although the agents were fired last week and this Thursday they were indicted with charges that include second degree murder, the brutality of the action, and of the images, made one fear that the flame of rage would rekindle in the protests organized not just in Memphis, but across the country.

Las calls to calm They came from all quarters. He made them, for example, the nichols family in a press conference this Friday, in which Rodney Wells, husband of the victim’s mother, said: “We want peace, We need to do this peacefully.”

It had also been carried out by the president of the United States, Joe BIden, who this Friday spoke by phone with the Nichols family. In his statement the day before about the case, he stated: “The outrage is understandable but the Violence is never acceptable. It is destructive and against the law. It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice.”


The great fear that is palpable throughout the country is that the images will ignite the flame of iraeven though in this case the actions against the police involved have been a lot Faster than in other cases of police violence (a fact after which Ben Crump, one of the lawyers for the Nichols family, who also represented George Floyd’s families of black police victims, has suggested that there is a racial factor as the agents are black and not white).

Everyone who had seen them or had been informed about their content before they were made public was horrified. Christopher Wray, el director del FBI, who collaborates in an investigation opened by the Department of Justice on the violation of Nichols’ civil rights, recognized this Friday his “consternation”. He also admitted that it was difficult to find the words to describe what the cameras carried by the agents, those of their cars and those of security in the area where the deadly incident took place, captured.

Anthony Romanucci, another of the Nichols family lawyers, who had the option to see the images on Monday, had explained that the agents are seen treating him “like a human piñata”. and he described three endless minutes in which Nichols, who had been arrested for alleged reckless driving for which there is no evidence, was struck and attacked with pepper spray and one electric shock gun. “It was not only violent, it was wild”, said the lawyer.

Nichols was there when he was brutally beaten just 100 meters from his mother’s house, where this 29-year-old man, with a four year old sonwhat was it photography and skateboarding fan, he went to dinner like every day, taking advantage of the lunch break in his late night shift at his job at FedEx. According to the family, the last thing that is captured on the video is Nichols calling her mother three times.

The images have been too much for that woman, RowVaughn Wells, whose name Nichols had tattooed on his arm, and this Friday he assured that he has not been able to see them. In the press conference, in addition, he also implored everyone who has children: “don’t let them see them”.

“Worse Than Rodney King”

The Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davisthe first black woman in office, had also warned that the videos would see “acts that defy humanity”. And he considered that the images could be “perhaps worst than those of Rodney King”, the black man who in 1991 suffered another brutal police beating in Los Angeles after being arrested while driving a truck. That case ended in the exoneration of the agents, unleashing a wave of riots in 1992 that left more than 50 dead in Los Angeles and billions of dollars in economic expenses.

This time the speed with which he has fired and arrested and charged the agents (that on Friday they were released after posting bail of between 250,000 and 350,000 dollars), or the satisfaction expressed by the family in the press conference with the charges, the process and authorities such as the police headquarters or the prosecutor’s office, could alleviate tensions. But the police excesses that are once again revealed can also trigger them.

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In particular, the Scorpion Unit of which the accused agents were part is now under intense scrutiny. It is a special unit created in 2021, similar to other implementations in police departments of other US cities to combat the crime in the “hottest” areas of the cities. In its operation (which includes traffic stops that are used as pretext for searches or arrests) many identify wrong strategies and tinted with racism, even if there are agents of color in their ranks like in Memphis. They also point to a excessive use of force already the apparent impunity.

Davis, the jefa of police local, has launched a research on that and other specialized units. And this Friday the Nichols family lawyers urged to go further and dismantle it immediately. “How could the community trust a Scorpion unit again?” Romanecci asked in the appearance before the press. “The intention was good, the final result was failure.


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