Tyre Nichols’s death is evidence that cosmetic change can’t excise the rot of American law enforcement

By | January 28, 2023

Zak Cheney-Rice writes:

The crisis in Memphis is the latest lesson in how limited the most popular reforms are, including those that might have seemed like game-changers not so long ago. Body cameras may have given us visual evidence of Nichols’s deathly beating, but were no deterrent. The federal response is already assuming a familiar shape. “To deliver real change, we must have accountability when law enforcement officers violate their oaths,” wrote Biden on Thursday, years after the criminal convictions of Michael Slager, Jason Van Dyke, and Derek Chauvin landed them in prison but did not slow the rate of police killings.

Severely curtailing the power of cops and dismantling America’s policing infrastructure have been dismissed as political poison and ruinous to public safety. But the alternative is a system where inevitable atrocities arise instead, forcing grieving moms and rattled officials to beg people not to burn down their cities.

The fact that all five cops who killed Nichols are Black is further evidence that we’re not dealing with a problem of individual prejudice and unaccountability, but something more fundamental to the job of policing. [Continue reading…]

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