Tyre Nichols death raises discussion on race, police culture, training

ByCrystal Cranmore WABC logo
Saturday, January 28, 2023
Tyre Nichols death raises discussion on police culture, training
Tyre Nichols death at the hands of Memphis police officers is raising a deeper discussion about race, police culture and training. Crystal Cranmore has the story.

NEW YORK -- Race has played a role in some past high-profile officer-involved deaths, but the case of Tyre Nichols, who was killed by police in Memphis after they pulled him over on Jan. 7, is raising a deeper discussion about police culture and training.

What's disappointing to activists and police alike is that there has been a nationwide effort to improve diversity on the force.

"It was police culture in America that killed Tyre Nichols," attorney Ben Crump said on Friday.

The death of Tyre Nichols has sparked not only outrage, as far as how he died, but also shock because of who was involved in his deadly beating.

LATEST: Memphis police release video of Tyre Nichols traffic stop

The Tyre Nichols video was released by Memphis police Friday showing the brutal beating on body cam footage.

"To see that is reported, that five African American officers are involved in this, just really hurt me personally," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said.

Five officers, all Black, face a range of charges including second degree murder.

For Mayor Eric Adams, this is personal.

"It's a painful moment for me as a victim of police abuse as a child," he said. "It was always my belief that diversifying our departments would allow us to have the level of policing that we all deserve."

The Memphis Police chief pointed out Friday, that it doesn't matter who is wearing a uniform.

"It takes off the table that issues and problems in law enforcement is about race, and it is not," Chief Cerelyn Davis said. "It's about human dignity."

RELATED: Memphis police chief says video of Tyre Nichols' traffic stop left her 'horrified,' 'disgusted'

"What bothers me the most, you have five officers and there is a duty to intervene," said Dr. Alfred S. Titus Jr., and adjunct professor at John Jay College.

The former NYPD detective says that points to a code that men and women in blue sometimes choose to follow.

"There is a culture that is not able to properly manage the power and authority that comes with being a police officer," Dr. Titus Jr. said.

The fact that Black officers were involved is not surprising to Rev. Al Sharpton.

"We've seen Black cops do it before, particularly right here in New York with the Sean Bell case.

RELATED: Tyre Nichols case will remind people of Rodney King, Ben Crump says

While he says training and diversifying police departments are still important, he's ramping up calls for federal laws on policing.

"If you do not know that what you have is at stake, you will act on your worst demons," Sharpton said.

In New York, both Mayor Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul have called for peaceful demonstrations.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams gives an update on the city's preparations ahead of the anticipated release of the Tyre Nichols video.

"We should be able to express our sorrow in our rage, but we must take all that pain and turn it into purpose," Adams said Friday before the release of the Tyre Nichols video.

Demonstrators took to the streets in Times Square Friday night following the release of the video.