Calls for police reform are again echoing across the United States in the aftermath of the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, whose vicious beating by Memphis Police officers led to his demise days after the attack earlier this month.
While five officers were originally fired and later charged with several crimes including second-degree murder, an additional two officers have been relieved of duty over the fatal beating.
Two emergency medical technicians and a fire department lieutenant have also since been terminated over their handling of the case.
This is just the latest case to fuel scrutiny of the use of force by police when encountering people of colour.
“What happened in Memphis is obviously tragic. I have seen the video myself and I will tell you, I was appalled. I’m struggling to find a stronger word, but I will just tell you I was appalled. The FBI, working with the Justice Department, takes great pride in our Color of Law investigations, and we will pursue, as has already been announced, an investigation here and will do it professionally without fear or favor, by the book, as I think is expected of us,” says FBI Director Christopher Wray.
In a statement, the Congressional Black Caucus said it had requested a meeting with President Joe Biden to push for negotiations on “much-needed national reforms to the justice system, specifically the actions, and conduct of law enforcement, calling the death of Nichols a grim reminder of the long road ahead in solving system police violence.
Previous Congressional negotiations on police reform broke down in 2021, spurred then by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, with President Biden in this statement saying he called on Congress to send the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to his desk.
This message was echoed by Nichols’ family attorney during this call with the President on Friday.
“We don’t want to end the call before saying when America watches this video tonight it’s going to evoke strong emotion and hopefully the House of Representatives and the Senate is also watching and this gives you another opportunity to call for them to come back and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act so we can try to prevent the next Tyre Nichols from happening.,” says Ben Crump, Civil Rights Attorney.
The Scorpion, a specialised police unit to which the charged officers were attached, has also since been disbanded.