MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Friday, five Memphis Police officers involved in the arrest of Tyre Nichols were fired. The 29-year-old man died in a hospital three days after his encounter with police.
All of the officers who were fired are Black. One Memphis pastor, Earle Fisher, who is a Senior Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, said he is not surprised.
“This is a majority black city and a majority-black county. we should expect the majority of these officers to reflect the racial demographics of the city and the county,” Pastor Fisher said.
He said he believes the officers’ actions have less to do with their race and more to do with the police system.
“This is about the system, about the white supremacist pathology that even black people can harbor and I think that is the case here,” Pastor Fisher said.
The now former officers face accusations of excessive force and failing to render aid among other violations.
“Those are technical terms that the police department has for when unchecked power goes unchecked. And when there is no one watching and there is no expectations of consequences,” Pastor Fisher said.
Josh Spickler with Just City said Memphis police using excessive force is not new, it just doesn’t get reported too often.
“I have heard from clients and other attorneys about very similar situations over and over again. many most don’t rise to the level of a conversation on television because people don’t die,” Spickler said.
Pastor Earle Fisher believes had it not been for the community supporting the family, protesting and bringing attention, the five men involved my still be on the police force.
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“The only reason the city administration is even trying to poster towards reform is because of the protest,” Pastor Fisher said.
He also said just firing the officers is not enough.
“I am not running victory laps because officers who were involved in the death of an unarmed black man were fired from their jobs. they deserve to be charged,” Pastor Fisher said.