Washington (EFE) disproportionately against the black community.
After the videos of the beating of Nichols were published last Friday, notable figures in American politics, including former President Barack Obama (2009-2017), have called for changes in the way in which the different police forces of the country They patrol the streets.
There have also been protests in some cities, although their size has been much smaller than at other times, such as the death of African-Americans George Floyd in 2020 and Michael Brown in 2014, cases that shook the country and sparked days of continuous demonstrations.
Those deaths, however, did not lead to significant police reforms either, and this Sunday Nichols’ family lawyer, Ben Crump, asked himself in an interview on CNN: “How many of these tragedies do we have to see on video before they happen?” United States recognize that it has a problem?
Crump, a well-known defender of civil rights, considered that there is a problem in the “culture” of the different police departments in the country that allows agents, regardless of their race, to attack and violate the rights of members of the community. black.
What happened to Tire Nichols?
All five officers who beat Nichols were black. All of them are in custody and face various criminal charges, including second degree murder, punishable by between 15 and 60 years in prison.
The officers stopped Nichols at what they allege was a traffic stop, forcibly removed him from the vehicle and beat him, kicking him in the head, beating him with a baton and even using a taser or electric shock gun. .
When the beating was over, the officers dragged Nichols to a patrol vehicle, sat him on the ground and bumped fists in celebration.
As the videos show, the last words Nichols, 29, uttered were: “Mom, mom, mom.” The young man had to wait 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive to receive medical attention and was admitted to a hospital in serious condition, where he died three days later.
A difficult road in Congress
In light of the brutality of what happened, Crump argued that Congress has a duty to pass major police reform to eradicate, once and for all, this type of abuse.
However, the path is not easy. Following the wave of protests that followed Floyd’s death, Republicans and Democrats negotiated for months last year to try to pass reform, but those negotiations failed.
One of the most difficult points in the negotiations was the idea of ”legal immunity,” which makes it more difficult for victims to file lawsuits against officers accused of using force disproportionately.
Democrats want to end that immunity that police officers enjoy, but Republicans want to keep it.
In addition, if the agreement was already difficult last year, when the Democrats had a majority in both houses of Congress, now it is even more complicated because control of the Legislature was divided: the Republicans dominate the Lower House and the Democrats hold the majority in the Senate, although they do not have enough seats to pass laws alone.
Even so, Senator Dick Durbin, one of the most influential figures in the Democratic Party, considered that talks should be resumed to approve a great police reform.
“There has to be a national conversation about how the police can carry out their work in a responsible, constitutional and humane way,” Durbin told ABC.
Changes in Memphis
At the local level, the Police of Memphis (Tennessee), where Nichols died, announced some changes on Saturday.
Specifically, he decided to dismantle the “Escorpion” unit, to which the agents who beat Nichols belonged and which was created in 2021 with the aim of reducing violence in the neighborhoods of the city that suffer it the most.
Precisely, in the protests of recent days, the demonstrators had demanded the elimination throughout the country of this type of police units, which usually patrol neighborhoods of the black community.
Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have repeatedly accused US police forces of using violence disproportionately against African Americans.
In fact, almost a third of all people killed by police in the United States between 2013 and 2022 were black people, despite being only 13% of the country’s population, according to the organization Mapping Police Violence.
Police officers will appear before a judge in February
The five police officers accused of killing Tyron Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, will appear before a judge for the first time on February 17, court records show.
The objective of the judicial hearing will be to determine if the agents can be released on bail or should continue to be detained.
The agents, who were expelled from the police force on January 18, arrested Nichols allegedly for a traffic violation on January 7.