We the Media find you guilty! Now for the trial.

In my effort to know what happened I settled on and entered into my search engine Memphis police kill Tyre Nichols. I was determined to read the first ten articles but skimmed the last four which more or less repeated the first six.

Headlines included…

Tyre Nichols: Memphis police beat man like ‘human piñata

Tyre Nichols was ‘defenseless’ during his ‘savage’ beating by police, attorneys say

Tyre Nichols traffic stop in Memphis is reminiscent of Rodney King beating

If you have not been following this, then in a nutshell on 7 January one Mr Tyre Nichols of Memphis was beaten to death by five police officers after a traffic stop. Evidently, Mr Nichols was stopped for reckless driving, was confrontational, fled, and was then apprehended.

These news articles otherwise presented the heartbreak and anger of Mr Nichols’ family and echoed the shock or outrage of Memphis’s black community and other supportive institutions.

It is indeed impossible for me to imagine such a beating being justified or any jury or judge finding it so. Based on these articles, my only theory is that these cops became very angry. I like to speculate and have quite the imagination, but I cannot yet concoct any other explanation other than they allowed themselves to be overcome by fury.

But what I want to know is, what triggered them? What prompted these five black police officers to beat to death one of their own people?

I dont know what cops are saying around police station water coolers everywhere, but rest assured they are all talking amongst themselves, and something tells me that half the story has yet to be told.

In the meantime these five black cops, working in a tough city to be sure, have already been found guilty in the court of public opinion. The courts will, and probably justifiably so, throw the book at them.

Having a temper myself, I feel sorry for them. Yet you must have some temper if you choose the life of law enforcement for it is not work for softies. But it must be balanced by an equal measure of self-possession.

That said, we are asking too much of our police today. We cannot at the same time cultivate an anti-police culture and not punish evildoers. The result will be a population that will not govern itself, will not be governed, and a growing criminal class that will feed on the population.

The police officer is then reduced to playing whack-a-mole and putting out brushfires, rather than just walking along the sidewalk, whistling, twirling his night stick, waving at shopkeepers, and patting children on their heads. He must increasingly be called upon to be the hammer, rather than just the deterrent.

What will happen (and is happening) is that men, like these black officers, will be increasingly reluctant to serve in the communities where they are needed the most.

But again, what I want to know is what caused all five of them to snap?

M.C. Atkins

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