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Tyre Nichols case shows systemic failure in US: opinion

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-02-02 10:01

A person holds a sign during a protest following the release of videos showing Memphis police officers beating Tyre Nichols, who died while hospitalized three days later, in New York, US, Jan 28, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

The fatal beating of Tyre Nichols by police in Memphis illustrates systemic failure in the US and the need to reimagine its public safety, according to an opinion piece published by the Boston Globe on Monday.

Many expressed surprise and shock all five officers who stopped, detained, pepper sprayed, then brutally beat the 29-year-old African-American to death were Black.

"We should not be surprised," Peniel E. Joseph, who teaches history and public affairs at the University of Texas in Austin, wrote in the opinion piece.

The death of Nichols should be viewed as a byproduct of systemic failure. His tragedy reflects a broken system in which armed police routinely turn traffic or even pedestrian stops into violent and deadly confrontations with unarmed people.

"Coming a little over two years after George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis sparked the largest social justice demonstrations in American history and a searing round of national soul-searching, Nichols's death reveals what has and has not changed since then," the article said.

Proposed reforms at the federal level, such as banning chokeholds and collecting data on police misconduct, still would not have saved Nichols's life.

Only the fundamental shift of systems of punishment that have been normalized in US society and culture can do that.

Memphis police released a video on Jan 27, showing Nichols being assaulted by five black officers as he cried out for his mother. He was taken to a hospital with severe injuries and was pronounced dead three days later by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Jan 10.

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