Biden shocked by police violence

Biden shocked by police violence

After the death of a 29-year-old black man in the US state of Tennessee, video of the brutal police operation was released for the first time. The photos – taken by the so-called body cameras of the officers involved – show the officers repeatedly beating the man named Tire Nichols. US President Joe Biden was shocked by the photos. Protests broke out in several places.

Nichols asks for help several times – to no avail. The African-African man died from his injuries three days after the operation.

Video footage from the night of January 7 shows Nichols being pulled over in his car by police in the greater Memphis area. The officers – also black – pull him out of the car and push him down. Again and again they shout to him to come down – and he is already lying there. Nichols repeatedly asks the officers to stop. He’s on his way home. “I did nothing.” Eventually, he breaks free and tries to flee on foot. An officer’s attempt to stop him with a stun gun fails.

Nichols is then picked up by police officers at another crossroads. From three different perspectives – also recorded by a camera permanently mounted on a light pole – you can see what’s happening next. Several officers hold Nichols down while other officers brutally beat him with their fists and a truncheon. In one video, it looks like a police officer is spraying something in his face. Nichols groans and wails. He calls loudly for his mother several times.

Another photo shows two officers holding Nichols’ torso while a third officer kicks him in the head. Emergency services drag the seriously injured man into an emergency vehicle and lean his upper body against the side of the car. Nichols died of his injuries in hospital three days later. Five officers involved have since been discharged from duty and arrested. They should have to answer in court.

The video caused outrage across the United States and beyond. Protesters peacefully blocked a highway through Memphis at night. Many held signs that read “Justice for Tyre”. According to media reports, three people were arrested during the protests in New York. Biden said at night that he saw the video and was shocked. The incident reminded him of the deep fear, trauma, pain and exhaustion that many black Americans feel every day.

Since then, five officers have been charged with murder and other crimes. After the video was released, the county sheriff announced that two other officers who were also on the scene were suspended from duty. An internal investigation is ongoing. CNN reported that two firefighters were also being investigated.

Deadly police violence with predominantly black victims occurs time and time again in the US. Lawyers for the family denounced racist practices. The five accused former police officers are also black. A Black Lives Matter executive said anyone working in a system that uses state-sanctioned violence is complicit in perpetuating white supremacy.

In the past, such brutal police operations have repeatedly triggered violent protests. The death of African-American George Floyd in May 2020 led to nationwide demonstrations and sometimes violent riots. The Nichols case is also often compared to the attack on Rodney King. King was brutally beaten by police in Los Angeles in 1991. He survived with serious injuries. (apa/dpa)