Photo: Memphis Police Department
“It makes it even harder to swallow…because they know what we have to go through.” RowVaughn Wells – January 28, 2023
Well, they have done it to us again. What for most White Americans is a simple inconvenience, a traffic stop, became for an African American another series of frames from a horror movie. Instead of being pulled over, given a ticket and sent on his way; Tyre Nichols was pulled out of his car by the police, sadistically beaten and sent to the hospital to die.
The villain or beast from this real-life horror was not Dracula or Frankenstein. The spawns of Satan that beat Tyre Nichols are not made-up characters from the minds of Bram Stoker or Mary Shelley. This villainous threat to the African American community is real! They are stalking the streets of our cities and towns for more victims every hour of every day and night.
This threat, these body snatchers don’t need the cover of darkness or need to operate in the shadows. They conduct their evil in broad daylight under the color of law. They are the urban army that is sworn to “protect and serve”. They are an integral part of the fascist American empire, descendants of the slave patrols. Their sole mission from inception in the Carolinas in the early 1700s has been to terrorize communities of color, maintain the status quo and ensure that people of color in America clearly understand that no matter what level of status they believe they have attained; at any moment and upon any whim they will lose their natural rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
This is not an indictment of all officers of the law. There are good, well-meaning officers walking the beat and putting their lives on the line every day. But on the night of January 7, 2023, those good officers were off duty. They were nowhere to be found. There were not any “good officers” in the SCORPION unit when now former officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith sadistically and for no reason beat the life out of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols.
America needs those “good officers” now! America needs those good officers to come forward, stand up and speak up. America needs those “good officers” to be good and do good and stop protecting the savage predators within their ranks.
We are told that the police are there to protect the community. Who is protecting the community from the police? The community needs to start backing elected representatives who will stand up against the police unions and call for citizen review boards with investigative and firing power. The community needs to pass legislation holding individual officers who violate training and protocol personally and financially liable for their crimes. The community needs to go back to the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense’s play book and “police the police”. We have to protect ourselves from those who are sworn to “protect and serve”.
As we call the names of Ms. Sandra Bland, Freddie Grey, Ms. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ms. Atatiana Jefferson, Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond and as Gil Scott Heron said, “An almost endless list; That won’t be missed, When at last America is purged;” it is easy to fall into the “phenotype” or “skin color” trap. Most of the officers involved in those atrocities were white. In the killing of Tyre Nichols, his alleged murders were African American as were most of those who stood idly by, watched it happen, failed to intervene or render aid.
For many of those in the right-wing media echo chamber, it’s easy for them to use the often-used tropes, routinely blaming African American subjects and victims for their plight. On the other side, too many community activists are now struggling to make sense of this apparent inconsistency. How can African American cops impose this death and mayhem in their own communities? As Tyre Nichols mother said, “It makes it even harder to swallow…because they know what we have to go through.”
The answer to this apparent conundrum is, it’s not about White; it’s not about Black; it’s about Blue. It’s not about phenotype or skin color; it’s about oppression, fascism and the interests being served.
In 1951, civil rights attorney William L. Patterson edited the book We Charge Genocide – The Crime of Government Against the Negro People. This book was based upon the historic petition presented to the UN in 1951, charging the United States government with genocide against its Negro American citizens. In this petition he wrote, “A false brand of criminality is constantly stamped on the brow of black youth by the courts and systematically kept there creating the fiction that blacks are a criminally minded people.” Unfortunately, this is the same mindset that far too many police officers, Black and White bring into the environments in which they are to serve.
The SCORPION unit that these alleged murders belonged to stands for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods. They did not come into the community to restore peace. They were there to impose their will upon the residents of that community. They brought that “false sense of criminality” into the community with them. They did not see this in the context of black and white; in their warped minds it was blue against Black. Tyre Nichols was not the focus of their rage; he was merely the unfortunate victim of it and the opportunistic vessel through which their message of community fear and control was being sent.
Patterson wrote, “We had two aims; to expose the nature and depth of racism in the United States; and to arouse the moral conscience of progressive mankind against the inhuman treatment of black nationals by those in high political places.” Will the killing of Tyre Nichols and the suffering of his family and community expose once again the nature and depth of racism in the US or will people be distracted by the phenotype of the officers who are charged with killing him? Will his killing arouse the moral conscience of “progressive mankind” in the US to the point of bringing about substantive legislation as referenced above to hold those accountable for engaging in such atrocities?
The officers involved in this tragedy came into the community to kill. Like a pack of wild dogs, they, like so many others were there to satisfy a blood lust and unsatiable taste for Black flesh. They were not there as agents of peace. They were there as agents of death; to invade, control and oppress.
As Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington) said to the crowd in Training Day, “I’m the man up in this piece… I’m the police, I run s%!t around here. You just live here. Yeah, that’s right…Go on and walk away… ’cause I’m gonna’ burn this MF down. King Kong ain’t got s%@!t on me.” This is the mentality those spawns of Satan brought into their own community. Unfortunately, unlike those in Training Day, Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old father and son was not allowed to walk away. He had to be carried away on a stretcher and died three days later from “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating.”
The police officers responsible for his death are Black. But, don’t get distracted, don’t get confused; don’t get it twisted. It’s not about phenotype. It’s about racism and the fascist interests being served by those who are sworn to “protect and serve.”
Dr. Wilmer Leon is a nationally broadcast talk radio host. An adjunct professor of political science. Author of Politics Another Perspective. Go to www.wilmerleon.com or email: [email protected]. www.twitter.com/drwleon and Dr. Leon’s Prescription at Facebook.com © 2023 InfoWave Communications, LLC