To Protect and To Serve? A meaningless phrase to many Americans—a former police officer talks to Northeast Valley News

Law enforcement should be asking— because America is asking—“who” is protecting and what motive is being served?


Fibonacci Blue (Flickr)

Near a police violence protest in Minneapolis Minnesota 2020

Nicole White - Reporter, Opinion

In case you haven’t seen the recently released video of the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols, you may not be able to fathom it—nor view it completely.

It’s that sickening.

The footage from at least four video vantage points that captured the Nichols beating will likely make you ill, it will likely break your heart when you realize Nichols was calling out for his mother and it will likely enrage you to find out that not one, but at least five police officers were involved in some capacity.

Tyre Nichols was pulled over for a traffic stop on Jan. 7—a Friday night—three days later, the 29-year old was dead.

Nichols was struck with a baton, kicked in the face, sprayed with an irritant while on the ground and he was crying for his mother and saying that he was just trying to go home.

The videos reportedly show police’s aggressive and unreasonable actions when at one point Nichols was ordered to provide his hands even though one hand was being held by another officer. It also shows that Nichols was punched while he was being held.

These was monsters that did this to my son,” Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, said on an MSNBC interview Friday night. “My son weighed 150 pounds. Each one of these officers was over 200,” Wells said. “That’s 1,000 pounds beating on my son, using him as a piñata — all this unnecessary force that was really not needed for a kid that wasn’t resisting, or just trying to get home to his parents.”

Trying to imagine how any mother, or family member could live with the horror of this video footage is beyond comprehension.

There are four gruesome videos and people need to be aware that once viewed, these images cannot be “unseen.”

This video footage is not something easily forgotten—nor should it be.

WARNING: The video is here, it is disturbing—use caution before viewing.

A camera (non-police) was lodged upon a nearby pole on the street where Nichols can be seen being kicked and beaten while on the ground.

Just days ago, the “reckless driving” claim that officers reported for the initial traffic stop along with an alleged chase that ensued when Nichols ran according to the report…has, so far, not been substantiated.

Five Memphis police officers have been fired and charged with second-degree murder and other counts while other officers remain under investigation including some over possible policy violations regarding the traffic stop.

On Monday, Memphis police said that a sixth and seventh officer were relieved of duty with “the other five on January 8—and those two officers still are subjects of an internal investigation.”

Nichols was hospitalized in critical condition after the attack and died three days later.

“It’s extremely difficult to conduct any kind of public review or independent investigation of police agencies,” said a former veteran police officer from the state of New Jersey who is currently a plaintiff in a lawsuit involving a former police force—the officer agreed to speak to Northeast Valley News on the condition of anonymity.

“Getting officers and commanders to account for bad policing is like trying to push through a brick wall,” he said.

There’s supposed to be a “defense of life” standard of ethics in police forces and the use of deadly force is only supposed to be used when the life of an officer or some other person is on the line.

But according to this former officer, “Statistically—deadly shootings may be down—but deadly force is growing.”

“It’s going to take widespread community outrage, political action, stricter hiring standards for recruits—and until new recruits fully understand that they will pay a heavy price if they don’t adhere to the once sacred ‘defense of life’ rules. This training has been lacking among new officers for going on two decades now,” he said.