Thursday, June 13, 2024

Memphis PD Finds White Scapegoat to Fit Narrative in Tyre Nichols Death

'The entire system of policing is based on white supremacist violence. We see people under the boot of oppression carry its water all the time...'

(Headline USA) In a sickening display of race-baiting, Memphis officials announced they had punished a white police officer who was not at the scene of Tyre Nichols’s brutal and shocking death in order to push a false narrative.

The case, which has drawn comparisons to George Floyd and Rodney King, initially involved five black officers who were reportedly undertrained. All have been fired and are now charged with an array of crimes—including second-degree murder—in the killing, which reached the public via body-cam footage.

Two more Memphis police officers have since been disciplined and three emergency responders fired in connection with the death of Nichols, officials said Monday, widening the circle of punishment to those who failed to help the 29-year-old father and avid skateboarder, who was himself black.

Officer Preston Hemphill, who is white, was relieved of duty shortly after Nichols’s Jan. 7 arrest, the police department announced.

On body camera footage from the initial stop, Hemphill is heard saying that he stunned Nichols and declaring, “I hope they stomp his ass.”

Later in the day Memphis police said another officer had also been relieved, but without naming the person or specifying what role they played in the incident.

Hemphill’s limited involvement in the killing didn’t stop race-baiting attorney Benjamin Crump and others from trying to push a spurious narrative of racial injustice in the case.

In a series of muddled messages, Crump first accused the black cops of racism and then denounced the fact that Memphis police had not immediately disclused Hemphill’s involvement, claiming it was part of a racial cover-up.

“We don’t see videos of [white people] having this kind of brutality levied against them,” Crump falsely claimed.

The white culpability is not only convenient for turning the national outrage into a left-wing political advantage, but absolutely essential to pushing the Marxist narrative of “systemic racism” advanced by Critical Race Theory and other black-supremacist philosophies that seek to undermine America’s core system of democratic values.

Joining Crump in the disgraceful display were lawmakers including Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., who blamed “white supremacy” for the killing.

Fired ESPN commentator Jemele Hill also echoed the claims in a post via Twitter.

“The entire system of policing is based on white supremacist violence,” she said. “We see people under the boot of oppression carry its water all the time.”

Also Monday, Memphis Fire Department officials announced the dismissal of emergency medical technicians Robert Long and JaMicheal Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker. The EMTs had previously been suspended. Long is white, while Sandridge and Whitaker are black.

Fire Chief Gina Sweat said in a statement that the department received a call from police to respond to a report of a person who had been pepper-sprayed. The workers arrived at 8:41 p.m. as Nichols was handcuffed on the ground and slumped against a squad car, the statement said.

Long and Sandridge, based on the nature of the call and information they were told by police, “failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols,” the statement said. Whitaker and the driver remained in the engine.

An ambulance was called, and it arrived at 8:55 p.m., the statement said. An emergency unit cared for Nichols and left for a hospital with him at 9:08 p.m.—27 minutes after Long, Sandridge and Whitaker arrived, officials said.

An investigation determined that all three violated “multiple” policies and protocols, the statement said, adding that “their actions or inactions on the scene that night do not meet the expectations of the Memphis Fire Department.”

Nichols’ death was the latest example in a long string of violent-crime incidents in the Tennessee city, which is 65% black, according to recent census estimates.

In the span of a single week in September, the city faced the horrific abduction, rape and murder of white mother Eliza Fletcher at the hands of a recently paroled black serial rapist, followed by an hourslong shooting spree involving a 19-year-old black man.

“Memphis is tired right now,” said one news reporter who broke down in tears while covering the latter story.

It remains to be seen what reforms stemming from the Nichols episode may due to further hobble legitimate law enforcement efforts in the city, known as the cradle of blues and soul music.

Memphis Police Department officers used a stun gun, a baton and their fists as they pummeled Nichols during the nighttime arrest.

Video showed Nichols running away from officers toward his house after he was pulled over on suspicion of reckless driving. Nichols was heard calling for his mother and seen struggling with his injuries as he sat helpless on the pavement, video footage released Friday showed.

The five officers chatted and milled about for several minutes as Nichols remained on the ground, but there were other authorities on the scene. Two Shelby County sheriff’s deputies have been relieved of duty without pay while their conduct is investigated.

In the Nichols case, the police department has been responsible for internal disciplinary measures, such as firings, while the Shelby County district attorney has handled the criminal charges.

Hemphill was the third officer at a traffic stop that preceded the violent arrest but was not at the scene where Nichols was beaten, his lawyer Lee Gerald said. Hemphill turned on his body camera, in line with department policy, he added.

Crump, who is representing the Nichols family, claimed that Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis, who is black, had engaged in a cover-up to protect the white officer.

“We have asked from the beginning that the Memphis Police Department be transparent with the family and the community—this news seems to indicate that they haven’t risen to the occasion,” attorneys Ben Crump and Anthony Romanucci said in a statement. “It certainly begs the question why the white officer involved in this brutal attack was shielded and protected from the public eye, and to date, from sufficient discipline and accountability.”

Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said information on disciplinary action taken against Hemphill was not immediately released because Hemphill was not fired. The department generally gives out information about an officer’s punishment only after a department investigation into misconduct ends, Rudolph said.

Davis told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that a “lack of supervision in this incident was a major problem.”

“When officers are working, you should have at least one supervisor for every group or squad of people,” Davis said. “Not just somebody who’s at the office doing the paperwork, somebody who’s actually embedded in that unit.”

Calls for more officers to be fired or charged have been loud and persistent from the Nichols family, their lawyers and community activists who have peacefully protested in Memphis since the video was released.

On Saturday, Nichols’s stepfather, Rodney Wells, told the Associated Press that the family was going to “continue to seek justice and get some more officers arrested.”

“Questions were raised before the video was released, I raised those questions,” Wells said. “I just felt there was more than five officers out there. Now, five were charged with murder because they were the main participants, but there were five or six other officers out there that didn’t do anything to render any aid. So they are just as culpable as the officers who threw the blows.”

Memphis City Council member Martavius Jones said Monday that police policies on rendering aid and de-escalation appeared to have been violated.

“When everybody saw the video, we see that you have multiple officers just standing around, when Mr. Nichols is in distress, that just paints a totally different picture,” Jones said

Jones said he believes more officers should be disciplined.

“At this point, what’s going to be helpful for this community is to see how swiftly the police chief deals with those other officers now that everybody has seen the tape and knows that is wasn’t only five officers who were at the scene the entire time,” Jones said.

The five fired officers and Hemphill were part of the so-called Scorpion unit, which targeted violent criminals in high-crime areas. Davis, the police chief, said Saturday that the unit has been disbanded.

Nichols’s funeral service is scheduled for Wednesday at a Memphis church.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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