Demonstrators gather in front of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in Detroit, Michigan on January 27, 2023 against the deadly Tire Nichols police attack. – The US city of Memphis on Jan. 27, 2023 released graphic video footage showing the fatal police attack of a 29-year-old black man as cities across the country braced for a night of protests against police brutality. Five Memphis officers, also all black, have been charged with second-degree murder to corporal punishment of Tire Nichols, who died in hospital on Jan. 10, three days after he was pulled over on suspicion of reckless driving. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP) (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)
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After officials in Memphis on Friday released graphic footage showing the death of Tire Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, at the hands of police, members of Congress on Sunday said they must revive efforts to pass basic police reforms.
The five officers involved in the fatal encounter were charged Thursday with murder, kidnapping, assault and other charges. All five officers were fired from the police department and the specialized police unit to which they belonged was disbanded on Saturday.
Police reform talks fell apart in Congress in 2021 after lawmakers failed to reach a bipartisan agreement. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Sunday that while passing these reforms would be “the right place to start,” it ultimately “isn’t enough.”
Durbin said that while he knows law enforcement officers risk their lives for Americans every day, many of those officers exhibit “horrible behavior” that needs to change for the better.
“What we saw on the streets of Memphis was just inhuman, horrible,” he told ABC’s This Week. “I don’t know what got these police officers so angry that they would congratulate themselves for beating a man to death. But that literally happened.”
Durbin added that he would not rule out a federal investigation of the entire Memphis Police Department following Nichols’ death.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said he thinks while reform is possible, no legislature can explain the “evil” and “lack of respect for human life” he saw in the footage. He said he doesn’t think those five officers represent the vast majority of law enforcement.
“We’re going to look at what we think makes sense to support this, to make sure they have the right training, but no amount of training is going to change what we saw in this video,” Jordan told NBC’s on Sunday “Meet the Press”. .
At the time of Nichols’ death, some police reforms were already in place in Memphis, including requiring officers to de-escalate situations where they saw others using excessive force. Ben Crump, the attorney representing the Nichols family, said Sunday he thinks the police culture is to blame as it has normalized the use of extreme force.
“Just as these officers are responsible for the death of Tire Nichols, so is the implicit police culture that exists in America,” Crump told ABC’s This Week.
Crump said he believes that culture will only change if federal police reforms are implemented. Without them, he said, “We’ll continue to see these hashtags proliferate.”
Although reform and training can have an impact, another effective deterrent to this behavior is for officers across the country to see what will happen to them if they engage in this type of violence, former Ferguson Police Chief Jason Armstrong said. Missouri. Armstrong led the Ferguson Police Department after being overtaken following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014.
Armstrong said since the five officers were fired and charged, officers see this behavior will not be tolerated. He said some officials don’t care if they wear body cameras or if there are witnesses, they still resort to violence and that culture needs to be eradicated.
“Unfortunately, violence came naturally to these individuals in this case,” Armstrong told ABC’s This Week on Sunday. “And this is where we as law enforcement need to do a better job of identifying these individuals within our organizations and our police departments and getting them out of the profession before something like this happens.”