Death of Tire Nichols: Memphis police beatings spark discussions of race, police culture and training

NEW YORK — Race has played a role in some deaths involving high-level officers, but the case of Tire Nichols, who was killed by police in Memphis after arresting him on Jan. 7, prompts deeper discussion about culture and police training. .

What is disappointing for activists and the police is that there has been a national effort to improve diversity within the force.

“It was the police culture in America that killed Tire Nichols,” attorney Ben Crump said on Friday.

Tire Nichols’ death not only sparked outrage over how he died, but also shock over who was involved in his fatal beating.

LATEST: Memphis police release video of Tire Nichols traffic stop

“To see what is being reported, that five African American officers are involved in this, really hurts me personally,” said New York Mayor Eric Adams.

Five officers, all black, face a series of charges, including second degree murder.

For Mayor Eric Adams, it’s personal.

“It’s a painful moment for me as a victim of police abuse as a child,” he said. “I’ve always believed that diversifying our departments would allow us to have the level of policing we all deserve.”

The Memphis police chief stressed Friday that it doesn’t matter who wears a uniform.

“It takes off the table that issues and law enforcement issues are about race, and it’s not,” Chief Cerelyn Davis said. “It’s a matter of human dignity.

RELATED: Memphis Police Chief Says Tire Nichols Traffic Stop Video Left Her ‘Horrified’, ‘Disgusted’

“What bothers me the most is that you have five officers and it is your duty to intervene,” said Dr. Alfred S. Titus Jr., and assistant professor at John Jay College.

The former NYPD detective says it points to a code the men and women in blue sometimes choose to follow.

“There is a culture that is not able to properly handle the power and authority that comes with being a police officer,” said Dr Titus Jr.

The fact that black officers were involved comes as no surprise to Reverend Al Sharpton.

“We’ve seen black cops do it before, especially here in New York with the Sean Bell case.

RELATED: Tire Nichols Case Will Remind People of Rodney King, Ben Crump Says

While he says training and diversifying policing is still important, he escalates calls for federal policing laws.

“If you don’t know what you have is at stake, you’ll be acting on your worst demons,” Sharpton said.

In New York, Mayor Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul called for peaceful protests.

“We should be able to express our grief in our rage, but we have to take all that pain and turn it into purpose,” Adams said Friday before the Tire Nichols video was released.

Protesters took to the streets of Times Square Friday night after the video was released.

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