A black man died at the hands of at least five black police officers. Now, some Americans are demanding police reform to prevent such injustice in the future.
Tyre Nichols, 29, reportedly was pulled over for reckless driving Jan. 7 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was on his way home after taking pictures of the sunset, a passion of his, family told reporters.
After police stopped Nichols, an officer pulled him from his car and ordered: “Get on the ground.” The situation intensified as officers shouted more orders and used pepper spray on him.
According to video from officers’ body cameras and street cameras released Friday evening, Nichols at one point was able to flee on foot before officers caught him.
The released footage reveals that police officers beat and pepper-sprayed Nichols multiple times while he was lying or sitting on the pavement.
An ambulance eventually arrived and took Nichols to a hospital, where he died from his injuries three days later.
Five of the Memphis police officers involved have been fired and now face charges of second-degree murder. A sixth officer has been placed on administrative leave.
Americans reacted with horror and outrage to the released video footage over the weekend, with some members of Congress calling for legislation mandating more police reforms.
“We are calling on our colleagues in the House and Senate to jump-start negotiations now and work with us to address the public health epidemic of police violence that disproportionately affects many of our communities,” Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in a formal statement Sunday.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he is not sure anything can be done to “stop the kind of evil that we saw in that video.”
“What strikes me is just a lack of respect for human life,” Jordan said, adding: “So I don’t know that any law, any training, any reform is going to change — you know, this man was handcuffed, [and] they continued to beat him.”
The Daily Signal asked Mike Gonzalez, senior fellow for national security and foreign policy at The Heritage Foundation, for his response to the horrific video and how Americans should respond to Nichols’ death. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
Here’s what we asked and what Gonzalez said:
Q: What struck you as you watched the video of Tyre Nichols’ fatal beating by police officers?
A: It was gut wrenching. I couldn’t [continue watching] after a certain point.
Q: What lesson should the American people take from Nichols’ horrific death?
A: Aside from learning once again that man is fallen, we will need to wait until investigations are conducted. How is it that these five people became policemen, were trusted with firearms, were entrusted to take care of communities? Who hired them? How were they hired? Were standards lowered in the hiring process? If so, why? Who pretended to train them? We need to get to the bottom of this.
Q: Why are calls to “defund the police” not a helpful response to Nichols’ beating and death?
A: Not only are they not a helpful response, they are used by people who manipulate tragedies for political ends. The Marxists behind these calls want to abolish not just the police, but the prison system and the courts, as well. That would produce chaos, which is what they want, after all, because they want to transform all of society. Sowing chaos is not a bug but a feature of their approach.
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