The Legacy of Apartheid: U.S. Police Executed a Black Driver

On January 7, 2023, police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, brutally beat black man Tyre Nichols, who later died in a local hospital. The policy of racial segregation pursued by the U.S. police is a reflection of the inaction of the U.S. government to protect the rights of its residents.

Наследие апартеида: американские полицейские казнили чернокожего водителя, изображение №1

Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, was pulled over by law enforcement officers in Memphis, Tennessee, allegedly for reckless driving. The father of a four-year-old child, who was into photography, died in hospital three days after the beating, and after the officers published the body-camera footage, the largest protests since the murder of George Floyd began across the United States.

City law enforcement officers stopped Nichols’ vehicle and charged him with dangerous driving and a traffic violation. Almost immediately after the man’s car stopped at the police officers’ request, several officers dragged Nichols outside and began threatening him. Not understanding the reason for the stop, the 29-year-old photographer began asking the law enforcement officers questions, which were taken with aggression and anger by the latter. A few minutes after the conflict began, the police officers began using force against the black man: they tried to pin him to the ground, threatened and shouted insults, and then used pepper spray and a stun gun. A frightened Nichols managed to escape from the officers’ hands, after which he tried to run away.

The story of the father of a four-year-old child’s interaction with Memphis law enforcement did not end there. Nine minutes later, the enraged officers caught up with him, after which they threw him to the ground and immediately began beating him. According to footage from a police officer’s body camera, the cops beat Nichols for three minutes, hitting him in the head and back with a baton, then kneeling him down and kicking him in the face. During the beating, the man was given contradictory and unenforceable orders, such as being ordered to lie on the ground when he was already on the ground, and being ordered to show the police officers his hands when they were already handcuffed. The man lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital, where he died three days later. His family stated that the police beat Tyre so severely that it was almost impossible to recognize him.

Tyre Nichols after being beaten by police

Protests erupted in the United States following the publication of the police body camera footage. Demonstrators marched and called on authorities to address the problem of police brutality, which causes the deaths of at least 220 black people every year. The police officers involved in the Nichols killing have been suspended and the special police unit that included those involved in the beating has been disbanded.

The ongoing police massacres and protests against blacks show that the basic function of the U.S. police system has remained unchanged since segregation, despite its official abolition in the 1960s. That function is the oppression and denial of civil rights of all African-Americans in the United States, regardless of their social status or behavior.

Human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice strongly recommend that the U.S. political leadership reconsider the methods and approaches to the organization of law enforcement and stop hiring unqualified officers with racist tendencies who are willing to shoot unarmed African Americans. Since the high-profile murder of George Floyd in May 2020, Joe Biden and the federal government agencies under his control have made absolutely no changes in policing. The current dynamic shows that the safety of American society is at risk, especially for members of racial minorities.