A Prayer for Tyre Nichols
MEMPHIS — I was on a school trip to Alabama and Tennessee to learn the dark history of the South.
We stopped at the site where Tyre Nichols died after five Memphis police officers brutally beat and tased him. The death of Nichols was devastating and bewildering, as the 29-year-old father was pulled over for “reckless driving” Jan. 7, 2023, according to CBS News. Nichols died of his injuries three days later on Jan. 10.
We pulled up in two large buses, and neighbors came out of their houses to take pictures of us because we were such a large group.
We paid our respects to Tyre and his family by reciting the mourners’ kaddish, a prayer Jewish people recite after someone passes away.
In 2020, I heard about George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and, ever since, I have become invested in understanding and educating myself about police brutality.
When I saw the site in person, I couldn’t stop crying. All week I learned about slavery and the South’s past of extreme racism, so to see that racism and police brutality is still going on is incredibly disheartening. It’s hard to speak about this as a white person. I have the privilege of never having had to experience police brutality or discrimination.
What surprised me the most about the murder of Tyre Nichols, a Black man, was that he was killed by Black officers. Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith were fired Jan. 20, and are facing criminal charges, according to CBS news.
In a disturbing video of Nichols being beaten by the officers, he was tased, pepper sprayed, punched, and beaten with a baton. According to the police cameras, the EMTs that arrived at the scene did not do anything to help Nichols for 19 minutes. The Memphis fire department fired the two EMTs because they failed to assist the patient and revoked their licenses, according to STAT news.