OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The world has witnessed police video of the brutal, heinous attack on Tyre Nichols by five black Memphis police officers that led to his death, but some in the media have still found a way to blame “white supremacy” for it.
Tyre Nichols was a black man, in the city of Memphis which is majority black and where virtually every leadership position is held by a black person, pummeled by five black police officers, but somehow white supremacy and racism is to blame, some, like CNN commentator Van Jones, believe.
“From the King beating to the murder nearly three years ago of George Floyd, American society has often focused on the race of the officers — so often White — as a factor in their deplorable acts of violence,” he said in an opinion piece on CNN. “But the narrative ‘White cop kills unarmed Black man’ should never have been the sole lens through which we attempted to understand police abuse and misconduct. It’s time to move to a more nuanced discussion of the way police violence endangers Black lives.”
He said that Black people “are not immune to anti-Black messages,” and that “Self-hatred is a real thing.”
“Black cops are often socialized in police departments that view certain neighborhoods as war zones. In those departments, few officers get disciplined for dishing out ‘street justice’ in certain precincts — often populated by Black, brown or low-income people — where there is a tacit understanding that the “rulebook” simply doesn’t apply,” he said. “Cops of all colors, including Black police officers, internalize those messages — and sometimes act on them. In fact, in Black neighborhoods, the phenomenon of brutal Black cops singling out young Black men for abuse is nothing new.”
“At the end of the day, it is the race of the victim who is brutalized — not the race of the violent cop — that is most relevant in determining whether racial bias is a factor in police violence. It’s hard to imagine five cops of any color beating a White person to death under similar circumstances. And it is almost impossible to imagine five Black cops giving a White arrestee the kind of beat-down that Nichols allegedly received,” he said.
“Unless there is real oversight, with real consequences for wrongdoing, bad actors will take advantage, lower the practical standards for everyone and put all of us at risk. And without aggressive oversight and swift punishment, we’ll continue to see stomach-churning acts of police violence against Black men — by cops of every color,” he said.
And he was not alone.
MSNBC host Tiffany Cross also found a way to blame white supremacy on Twitter.
“Black/brown faces can hold positions of power and uphold white supremacy. Often, that’s precisely why they hold the position. Believe me. I know. We’ve seen this many times. Even now, some can’t distinguish between Black faces & Black voices,” she said.
Black/brown faces can hold positions of power and uphold white supremacy. Often, that’s precisely why they hold the position. Believe me. I know. We’ve seen this many times. Even now, some can’t distinguish between Black faces & Black voices. More soon. For now…#TyreNichols 🙏🏽💔
— @tiffanydcross (@TiffanyDCross) January 28, 2023
Former ESPN host Jemele Hill also got in on the act.
“I need so many people to understand this regarding Tyre Nichols. Several of the police officers who murdered Freddie Gray were Black. The entire system of policing is based on white supremacist violence. We see people under the boot of oppression carry its water all the time,” she said.
I need so many people to understand this regarding Tyre Nichols. Several of the police officers who murdered Freddie Gray were Black. The entire system of policing is based on white supremacist violence. We see people under the boot of oppression carry its water all the time. https://t.co/H11cuzHPxC
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 27, 2023
And on MSNBC a guest, former police offer and National Coalition of Law Enforcement Officers For Justice Reform and Accountability co-founder Redditt Hudson, said the attack was “rooted in white supremacy”
““I’ve been on this show now for some years covering these kinds of incidents. Accountability is the best training that police officers can never get when it comes to these kinds of situations. Seeing someone held accountable, prosecuted and convicted it this does become the blueprint. It becomes a stop of what we have seen. I do know for sure that the reaction in similar situations we have seen Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, Mike Brown when white officers are involved with egregious conduct that we have seen, the response is very different,” he said Friday on the show “All In,” Breitbart News reported.
“It gets me to another point that I want to make while I was on with you tonight. Because so much ground has been covered effectively by the people that you have head-on. I’ve been in agreement with everything I’ve heard. But these black officers, man, this is what it looks like when black officers internalize and align themselves with police culture, which itself is rooted in white supremacy. When I had, and all black officers have a real opportunity to address it from the inside, what makes this so sad to see is the failed opportunity to address the culture that they adopted but takes a man’s life right in front of us again it’s a sad commentary on those officers ‘ professionalism, on their ability to discern what their role should be versus what historically police role in our community has been. It’s a tragedy,” he said.