MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After seeing the video of the altercation that ultimately led to the death of Tyre Nichols, allegedly at the hands of five Memphis Police officers, it is raising questions about why police resort to deadly force.
WREG spoke with an expert in the “use of force in policing” who believes Memphis Police have lost touch with the community they are sworn to “serve and protect.”
“It pushes, increases the distance between those of us who want to reform police and the police community,” Professor Turé said.
Kalfani Turé is an expert in “race and policing” and “use of force ” in policing at Mount St. Mary’s University, and he says the death of Tyre Nichols comes as crime and homicide rates in Memphis remain high.
“How does someone make the claim that we need police when, in fact, the police have demonstrated themselves through this example, as utterly unreliable,” Professor Turé said.
As body cam video in Nichols’ death is set to be released on Friday, Professor Turé is concerned over its reported violence.
“It sounds like it was more like being in the center ring of a boxing match, handcuffed with Mike Tyson pummeling you,” Professor Turé said.
The five officers now charged in Nichols’ death were part of MPD’s SCORPION unit, a crime suppression team. In Turé’s opinion, it appears to have no accountability.
“The perception of these officers was, in fact, that he was a criminal first….and they would need an avalanche of evidence to disabuse themselves of that idea,” Prof. Turé said
Turé says unlike the death of George Floyd in 2020, where a white Minneapolis police officer used unreasonable force during Floyd’s arrest, Tyre Nichols’ accused killers are all African Americans.
“These officers should not be able or afforded the opportunity to use race as a cover,” Professor Turé said. “It is police brutality at large that must be reformed because it further endangers society.”
Tyre Nichols’ family’s attorney is calling for MPD to disband the SCORPION unit.