In the tragic incident where Memphis police officers beat Tyre Nichols to death following a traffic stop, Lt. DeWayne Smith retired with his benefits on the day before his termination hearing. Smith was the police supervisor on scene and heard Nichols say “I can’t breathe” as he was propped up against a squad car, but failed to get him medical care or remove his handcuffs.
Memphis City Council members were upset that an officer was allowed to retire before steps could be taken to fire them. Meanwhile, Nichols’ family attorney called for Memphis police and officials to hold Lt. Smith and all those involved fully accountable.
Unfortunately, this incident is not an isolated event, and discussions about police violence in America have become ubiquitous. While we cannot undo this tragedy, we can provide perspectives on how to ensure that it never happens again.
To do this, we must take a critical look at the issues surrounding police violence and make changes in police departments’ policies and practices. We need to fund resources to de-escalate situations and provide more training in conflict resolution. We need to encourage accountability of police officers, provide better oversight, and make it easier to remove officers who engage in unlawful or excessive use of force.
Moreover, the police must diversify and examine the systemic racism imbued in American society. There must be an emphasis on equitable community policing practices focused on protecting and serving all citizens. We need to end the militarization of the police equipment and tactics, and we must invest in alternative models of law enforcement that prioritize diplomacy, compassion, and collaboration.
In conclusion, justice should be served for Tyre Nichols, and we must find ways to make lasting changes to address systemic racism and police violence in America. We call on lawmakers to take action to enact meaningful reforms that will prevent these types of tragedies from ever occurring again. Until we do, justice will continue to evade the victims of police brutality, and the cycle of violence will only continue.#Supervisor #Tyre #Nichols #Death #Retired #Firing