Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Tyre Nichols case: Does diversity in policing address police brutality?

Five of the officers involved were Black.

January 31, 2023, 5:00 AM

The death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died following a violent encounter with Memphis police officers, has put diversity in policing back in the spotlight.

Five now-former officers charged in his death are Black. A sixth officer involved, who is white, has been relieved of duty but not fired or charged. Two Memphis fire department personnel have also been relieved of duty pending an internal investigation in connection with Nichols’ care, and they have not been identified.

Diversifying police forces has been a widely proposed police reform policy in the yearslong effort to address racism in policing.

However, activists and researchers say racism in policing doesn’t just exist on an individual level, but a systemic one, and Nichols’ death is an example of this. Experts say racism can be seen in policing policies and attitudes, which have adverse effects on communities of color.

MORE: Tyre Nichols suffered from ‘extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating’: Independent autopsy

“Individuals become a part of that system and they adapt the values and norms of that system — that supersedes the ethnicity or race of the individual,” Amara Enyia, a policy and research coordinator for the Movement for Black Lives, told ABC News.


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