Police Murder, Failed Black Leadership, And The Economics Of The Tyre Nichols Case

Nichols case replicates the loop: Status quo; police brutality and murder; media coverage; protests; legal action; and return to

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Everyone knows the unfolding Tyre Nichols case replicates the loop: Status quo; police brutality and murder; media coverage; protests; legal action; and return to status quo.

But this case has features that warrant further inspection because it carries significant economic implications for Black America—especially for Black males.

Digression: Before considering the economics of the case, we are compelled to remind Black America that a key reason why WE continue to be hurled around the aforementioned loop is because WE have failed to act effectively to exit the loop. A central reason for this failure is Black leadership’s failure to guide Black America to readily available loop exit options. We reserve an analysis of loop exit options for another time, and now return to the topic of this commentary.[1]

At a minimum, an analysis of the economic implications of the Tyre Nichols case should include consideration of: (1) The police involved; (2) media’s coverage of the case; and (3) global, national, and local reactions to the case as conditioned by the aforementioned loop. All in all, these implications mean there will be fewer financial resources in Black American areas of influence. Not just in Memphis, but across the nation and around the world. Less financial resources in our areas of influence reinforce crime and further engagement with police.

Now to the analysis.

The police involved.—Our knowledge of the police involved in the case is limited to media coverage and to our perusal of the Memphis Police Department (MPD) website. The entire crisis reflects police personnel who lacked adequate skills (intellectual and physical). This is apparent in the profusion of profanity in the language spoken by police in the incident, the difficulty that several police encountered in subduing one relatively small Tyre Nichols, and the exhaustion of police officers who were required to run seemingly less than 200 meters during the incident.

The limited and very rudimentary qualifications for MPD recruits are provided here: https://newmpd.wpengine.com/police-recruit/

The requirements are inconsistent with, and subpar to, most serious jobs with a modicum of complexity that are available in the US today. In a phrase, based on media released videotapes of the incident,the police-persons involved appeared to possess and exhibit the skills, abilities, and behaviors of “a group of young thugs.” Most upstanding Americans shy away from and avoid such personalities.

This means employers are now less likely to hire Black males who resemble in any way the police personalities involved in the Tyre Nichols case. This is particularly true of employers who have limited engagement with Black American males.

Media’s coverage of the event.—As with the George Floyd case, media coverage of the Tyre Nichols case is repetitive; forcing the details deeper and deeper into our conscious and subconscious minds.

What are we imbibing? A group of Black football-sized police “brutes” beating a small and defenseless Black man who called repeatedly to his mother for help. Afterwards, the mother of the victim said to her son’s murderers: “I’m going to pray for you and your families.”[2]

Also, “talking head” experts regurgitated the pablum that is typically fed to Black America after such incidents: Blacks and police don’t get along; maybe the police should be defunded; police require better training; keep protests peaceful; and further study and analysis of such incidents may reveal implementable solution at some point in the future.

The related economic implications are:

(1) Big Black brutes are not intelligent and cannot even manage a small opponent. Do not hire them if you need a security solution.

(2) Hearing a second Black man (George Floyd was the first) call for his mother in a time of distress conveys that Black men are weak and cry like a baby when in distress, and that Black fathers are not the “force” that Black men and women seek as their rock, sword, and shield in times of trouble. Black men are not strong and fierce. Do not hire them if you need a strong, fierce, and steady employee.

(3) Black mothers, the bedrock of Black areas of influence, can always be called upon to forgive oppressors and murderers because they adhere to Christian principles. We can continue to tread on Black Americans (economically, physically, psychologically, etc.) on every hand because they have been trained well to forgive.

(4) Because Whites control the media (even when Black faces present the content), we can always spin this “Police Kill Another Black Man” story, which comes with heavy adverse economic implications for Black America, the way we always have. After we spin them through the loop again, we will return to the status quo.

Global, national, and local reactions to the case.—The economic implications of reactions to the incident flow from the just-analyzed two economic implications. The bottom line is that less employment is in the offing for Black males.3 Less employment for Black males, if we generalize scholarly research, means a higher level of crime in Black areas of influence.

Now the kicker! The tried and proven political economy result is that an increase in the crime rate in Black areas of influence typically means increased spending to fight crime by the associated police force.

Note that scholarly research reveals that an increase in Black police–who engage with Black populations–is associated with reduced crime in Black areas of influence.4 However, the political economy is such that more non-Black police than Black police will be hired to address an increase in crime in Black areas of influence.

Tyre Nichols’ loss of life is tragic.

It is also tragic that Black America fails to comprehend that the entire system is a grand strategic economic game, and that we are engaged in an undeclared war with White America.

Until we come to this realization, more and more Tyre Nichols will lose their innocent lives, Black America’s economy will continue to remain underdeveloped, White America’s economy will continue to thrive on Black America’s back, and Black America will remain in a swoon caused by cycling around the loop.

Economist Dr. Brooks B. Robinson is the founder of the Black Economics.org website: https://blackeconomics.org/index.php/about-us/


[1] At the core of all exit options are strategies that reduce dramatically Black America’s encounters with police (especially White police). A key strategy, and one that researchers have proven to be effective, is to increase the number of relevant jobs in and around Black areas of influence. The more relevant and reasonably compensated the jobs, the fewer crimes in an area and the lower the recidivism. Another strategy is to intensify the development of Black areas of influence (communities) volunteer citizen patrols (physical and virtual), and to cause local authorities to acknowledge the efficacy of such patrols in reducing requirements for police intervention. Going further, Black areas of influence should use pressure (including economic and political) to motivate local authorities to hire more Black police. In doing so, we must convince local authorities that the often-used “representativeness” hiring metric (the percentage of Black policepersons on police forces being comparable with Black representation in the population) is irrelevant. A more relevant hiring metric is to raise the percentage of Black policepersons on forces to be consistent with the trend percentage of crimes managed by police that involve Black Americans. Scholarly
research reveals that an increase in Black police engagement with Black populations is associated with a reduction in crime. Ultimately, our goal should be to have Black public order and safety (POS) officials manage POS requirements in our areas of influence, to command related facilities that are located in our areas of influence, and to receive an appropriate share of local government financial and other resources to facilitate these arrangements.

[2] Richard Luscombe (2023), “Tyre Nichols’s mother says ‘I feel sorry’ for officers charged with son’s murder,” The Guardian; https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jan/27/rowvaughn-wells-interview-tyre-nichols-mother (Ret.020323).

[3] There were no such economic implications for White and Asian males in the George Floyd case.

[4] Sounman Hong (2016), “Representative Bureaucracy, Organizational Integrity, and Citizen Coproduction: Does an Increase in Police Ethnic Representativeness Reduce Crime?” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management; Vol. 35(1), pp. 11-33; https://doi.org/10.1002/pam.21876 (Ret. 020123).

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