As the facts of the police-led killing of Tyre Nichols come forward the press struggles to maintain its narratives. It gets embarrassing.
There is nothing but grief and anger to be generated by the death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police during what should have been a routine traffic stop. The police body cam footage shows this event escalated well beyond what is needed or even logical. Is there a need to get answers about what led to this grievous act? Absolutely, and indications are the authorities are taking these necessary actions. The officers involved were immediately fired and now have been charged with murder, and the special task force set up in Memphis – dubbed SCORPION – has been dismantled.
What is not needed is the media speculation and the pouring of fuel onto the fires of the outrage felt in the community. Once the story emerged that Nichols perished in the hospital following his beating, the media machine was fired up. Comparisons to past police conflicts were dredged up, hints at social upheaval were made, and journalists were dispatched to Memphis to cover the expected unfolding drama. But then facts emerged that ground their momentum on a reef of reality.
The five officers involved in the confrontation were all black.
Now the preset narrative was blown apart, and the reporters were suddenly off balance as they then seek to pin down the motives behind the actions of the police. The need to have this neatly categorized, to find the root blame, does not allow for the measure that five cops could be amped up and possibly energized by something as base as a mob-rule scenario. The ready-made blame on racism is not only easier but it launches all of the familiar scripts of divisiveness that pundits and networks thrive upon.
This resulted in the next step in coverage from west Tennessee; systemic racism was behind these actions of the black officers. This farce of punditry began on Friday, launched by CNN’s Van Jones. He offered up this salvo in preserving the media approach to this violent tragedy. It is the race of the victim who is brutalized — not the race of the violent cop — that is most relevant in determining whether racial bias is a factor in police violence. As the door was opened it allowed others to spend the weekend echoing this brand of idiocy.
Jemele Hill, who never seems capable of employing pragmatism with her incessant racial coverage, joined the Jones chorus of blaming whites.
I need so many people to understand this regarding Tyre Nichols. Several of the police officers who murdered Freddie Gray were Black. The entire system of policing is based on white supremacist violence. We see people under the boot of oppression carry its water all the time.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 27, 2023
Then, just for bad measure, we can add the ever-irrational Representative Cori Bush, who issued a statement that followed suit.
Let’s be clear: merely diversifying police forces will never address the violent, racist architecture that underpins our entire criminal legal system. The mere presence of Black officers does not stop policing from being a tool of white supremacy. We will keep pushing to not only end police brutality but dismantle the uniquely American racist and violent policing system.
Being clear is not something Ms. Bush has shown to have an adept ability with over the years. As she joins the mynah birds who are bleating about a white system leading to the death of Tyre Nichols, I have to ask – Will these deep thinkers ever actually show where exactly these white standards exist?
Last Thursday Don Lemon came to town to discuss the issue involving various members of the Memphis community. He sat in with the Nichols family, spoke with members of the city council, and interviewed the police chief of the city. In speaking with Chief Cerelyn Davis, Lemon attempted to cling to the narrative as he brought up race, but she dismisses this notion calmly and thoroughly.
As Don Lemon attempted to find the racial component behind the Tyre Nichols death, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis calmly dismisses attributing anything of the sort, as she declares it to be an issue with the character of the officers involved. pic.twitter.com/quZ03rG1O3
— Lie-Able Sources (@LieAbleSources) January 30, 2023
Don Lemon tries to get to that favored realm of the press, despite the glaring reality of the environment he was in. Look at the CNN newsman attempting to make this a racial issue, while during the week every single person he was speaking to on the matter was black. This underscores the entire fallacy of the press attempting to make this man’s death something to place at the feet of “whiteness”.
There is this reliance to explain away inconvenient instances of race on a systemic foundation leading to the result where the attempt is made to inject racism. In this case, when all the players are inconveniently uniform in color, including those in uniform, this need to claim they very were influenced by a white system does not hold up for one obvious reason – that system cannot be pointed out to prove the claim.
Where does this “white” system operate, and how is it operated, when you have black individuals in charge of most positions? You have a female police chief who is black. The police force is filled with POC officers. The city is run by a predominantly black legislature, and this is because you are drawing from a primarily black community. Memphis is in the top 5 of cities with a black population; two-thirds of its residents are black. As Cori Bush complains about the racist white supremacy of the system, how does she explain that she is describing a city run by her own party, with Democrat mayors in place for 30 years?
That there is a problem behind this event in need of being addressed is a known entity. By all appearances so far it is being addressed directly, and by sober minds. The press, meanwhile, with the insistence on making this out to be inspired by racism – absent anything approaching evidence – is only an impediment to fixing the problem. Injecting a racial component where it does not apply is a disservice to the community in need of real repair.
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