By Hudson Crozier
Over the weekend, protests erupted in the U.S. after the release of footage of the alleged murder of 29-year-old black man Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis, Tennessee, police earlier this month.
What did the footage show? The officers, all five of whom are black, stopped Nichols at an intersection for reckless driving. When he began resisting arrest, they pulled him out of his car and onto the ground, cursing and making threats such as “put your hands behind your back before I break them.” As the scuffle continued, officers kicked and tased him until he fled, and after catching him, they repeatedly punched, kicked, and struck him with a baton. He died of his injuries in a nearby hospital.
Local, state, and national leaders respond: The Memphis Police Department disbanded the unit that the officers belonged to. Democrats in Congress and the Tennessee House as well as President Joe Biden have called for police reform legislation.
Anti-police riots have become the new normal. Memphis businesses began boarding up in advance of the footage release, and the U.S. Capitol police increased security. President Biden, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and Nichols’ mother urged for peace. Nevertheless, protesters across the country blocked traffic, attacked police cars, and shouted phrases such as “kill cops.” In New York City, Antifa promised to “burn it all down,” and three protesters were arrested for vandalism, breaking a police car windshield, and assaulting police.