The Police Murder of Tyre Nichols in Memphis:
How Long Will We Keep Burying Our Youth? Until We Make Revolution!
Updated January 28, 2023 | Revolution/revcom.us
On January 7, Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was pulled over by Memphis police for supposed “reckless driving.” RowVaughn Wells, Tyre’s mother, said he was coming home from his job at Fed Ex and was two minutes away. Within moments of stopping him, five Memphis pigs surrounded Tyre. They began to beat him mercilessly. These killers, all members of an “elite” police unit called The Scorpions, continued clubbing, kicking, tasing, and pepper spraying Tyre for three minutes.
Tyre’s family’s lawyer, who saw a police body-cam video of the beating, said, “What he was in that [video] was defenseless the entire time. He was a human piñata for those police officers. It was unadulterated, unabashed, nonstop beating of this young boy for three minutes.” Tyre asked, over and over, as he was being brutalized by the cops, “What did I do?” What he did was be a young Black man, driving through a part of town the Memphis Police Department designates as “high-crime.” And that got him a death sentence from these pigs.
Listen, really listen, to the anguish and anger in the voices of Tyre Nichols’s parents.
RowVaughn Wells, who also was shown some of the body-cam video, told reporters, “Once the video started and I heard my son's voice, I lost it. I couldn't stay in the room. All I heard him say was, what did I do? And once I heard that, I lost it.”
Rodney Wells, Tyre’s stepfather, said, “Our son ran because he was scared for his life. He did not run because he was trying to get rid of no drugs, no gun, no any of that. He ran because he was scared for his life. And when you see the video, you will see why he was scared for his life.… They handcuffed him and set him, propped him up on the car. And as he fell over they’d tell him ‘sit back up.’ You know, and he would slump back over again and they would make him sit back up. They never rendered any aid.”
Three days later after this pack of murderous cops stopped and brutalized him, Tyre Nichols died.
It took 11 days after Tyre Nichols was beaten before the federal government announced an investigation; 13 days before the cops were fired from their jobs; and 19 days before the pigs were arrested and charged with murder. Videos from the cops’ body cams still haven’t been released as of this writing. These pigs are among the few across the country who are ever charged for the murders they commit. This system lets killer cops walk time after time – they are doing their job, defending a system that allows them – encourages them – to brutalize and kill people, knowing they will rarely be punished, that their crimes will be covered up by district attorneys, and that the media will repeat whatever it’s told.
A little less than three years ago, millions of people rose up in beautiful protests against police brutality and murder in cities and towns across the country. Different schemes were proposed as an answer to the case after case of police brutality and murder that plague this country, especially targeting Black, Brown, and Native American youth. Schemes like hiring more people of color, and more women, to be police. Like having all cops wear body cams.
In Memphis, a Black woman is the chief of police. The five pigs who killed Tyre Nichols are Black, as is about 58% of the Memphis Police Department. Memphis police are taught “de-escalation strategies” and told to “intervene” if they saw their fellow cops using “excessive force.”
Ask yourself this: How many Black and other oppressed people have been killed by murdering cops in one city after another, just since the protests of 2020, and the “reforms” many police departments initiated? Here’s part of the answer: “Police killed the highest number of people on record in 2022.” At the beginning of this year, three men murdered by the Los Angeles police within three days. In Houston, three people were run over and killed in the first three weeks of the year by cops speeding through the streets on their way to alleged crime scenes. Those are just some examples, from just two cities.
And Tyre Nichols is dead.
Murder, brutality, repression, imprisonment, injustice against Black and other oppressed people at every turn—this has been going on for centuries! It is a cornerstone of this system of capitalism-imperialism that exploits and oppresses people across the world, and is destroying the planet itself. And how many of the people killed have found justice from a system for whom the lives and humanity of Black people mean absolutely nothing? How long has this system carried out exploitation, outrage and mayhem against Black and other oppressed people, here and around the world?
How long? Way too long. It is crucial to fight for justice for Tyre Nichols, and not to stop until it’s won. But unless and until we make revolution—unless and until we overthrow this system… unless and until we defeat and dismantle their armed forces of repression and violence… this same shit, along with all the other horrors this system brings down, will go on. And on. And on.
We need a revolution—an actual revolution. The leader of the revolution, Bob Avakian, says:
…We have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all…
STOP Genocidal Persecution, Mass Incarceration, Police Brutality and Murder of Black and Brown People!