“I’m just trying to get home.”
By Chasity Jennings-Nuñez
It is a sentiment each of us feels every day. To reach a place of comfort, belonging and security, the place you call home, is instinctual. These six words can be an explanation, a wishful thought, or a goal after a busy day. For #TyreNichols, it was a plea for mercy.
Mr. Nichols’ death highlights that the problems with policing in America go beyond Black and White. The origins of policing Black people in America are firmly rooted in the desire to control, subjugate, and intimidate first enslaved people of African descent and then free Black people through the Jim Crow era and to this very day. If five Black officers can beat a Black man as viciously as White officers beat Rodney King over 20 years ago, the problem is not one of weeding out a few bad apples. It is not a problem that can be addressed with hiring more officers of color. It is a system that is broken. It is a system and a culture that prevents people who might otherwise decide to do the humane thing from intervening when they see a fellow human being tragically mistreated.
How can a system so old and entrenched be reformed from within? The swift actions of the District Attorney and Police Chief in Memphis are a start, but addressing police violence in response to violent encounters that leave citizens injured or dead, doesn’t help. As BLM LA said in their statement, “There is no such thing as justice for Tyre because justice would mean that he was still here… We can, however, demand justice in Tyre’s name.” I intend to demand change from my local, State and Federal government.
Tyre Nichols could do nothing to stop the beating he knew he was going to be subjected to when those officers approached his car with aggressive and violent behavior. When people ask. “Why did he run?”, they obviously haven’t seen the video. He was running for his life. “I’m just trying to get home,” was his plea and his desire. Think about that the next time you walk into the security of your home.
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