Five Black Memphis police officers are fired for killing a Black motorist

The five Memphis police officers were suspended but not charged in the deadly beating death of a Black motorist.  The killing raises the difficult question of whether Black police officers behave more like White police officers who have historically acted out of bias and rage against Black men.

The five police officers were involved in the arrest of Tyre Nichols, who died three days after following a traffic stop earlier this month.

The five officers were dismissed following an “internal investigation,” which determined that they “violated multiple department policies, including excessive force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid,” Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis said in a statement.

Black cops have been involved in another deadly beating of Black men.  One incident that comes to mind is the shooting death Jaylan Walker who was shot to death by eight officers, including one Black cop.

One of the Walker family’s attorneys, Bobby DiCello, told reporters Thursday afternoon that Walker had no criminal record.  He wasn’t high on drugs. And he had no weapon. He worked for DoorDash and was previously employed at Amazon.

After he was shot, Walker was lying face down and was handcuffed. 

It is difficult to determine what cops fear when they face a Black man like Walker or myself. 

I also felt the police could kill me without breaking a sweat.

When I was 21, I lived in Pittsburgh and was arrested while walking to Carnegie Mellon University, a few blocks from where I lived, to attend a jazz concert.

When one of the cops locked me up, they all beat and kicked me. One of the cops told me how much he hated ‘niggers.’ 

He tried to arrest me at my bond hearing.  But the judge knew me because I was the journalist covering his courtroom. He told the cop to sit down.

Black men are accustomed to having Black men and Black women employed to carry out the orders of their White bosses to suspect every Black male customer of any establishment of entering the premises with the sole intent to steal. 

I have asked Black security guards whom they watch in stores.  Their response is an automatic “we watch everyone.” I certainly don’t believe what he said.

The Memphis Police Department identified the five dismissed officers as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith. 

On Jan. 7, the 29-year-old Nichols was arrested after officers stopped him for reckless driving, police said.

There was a confrontation as officers approached the driver, and he ran before he was confronted again by the pursuing officers, who arrested him, authorities said. He complained of shortness of breath and was hospitalized for care. Officials said a cause of death has not yet been determined.

This did not sit well with other Black cops. “Y’all notice Black officers are fired almost immediately. Not saying they shouldn’t be, but many White officers are put on administrative leave/duty when they are involved in similar incidents and overreact and employ lethal force.”