White cop who tasered Tyre Nichols so far not charged

A protest over the police killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis
Support us and go ad-free

Five Black police officers are currently up on second degree murder charges over the killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, US. However, reports are starting to emerge that a white police officer was also involved – and that it was him that hit Tyre with the initial taser. Yet so far, this cop has not faced any consequences – and people are starting to ask questions.

Tyre Nichols: killing sparks protest

As Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported, police killed Tyre after beating him repeatedly following a traffic stop. He died on 10 January, three days after cops initially stopped him on suspicion of reckless driving. Authorities have fired five police officers and charged them all with second degree murder. Memphis authorities released the graphic bodycam footage of officers repeatedly attacking the 29-year-old as he moans and calls out for his mother.

His death and the subsequent details sparked protests in Memphis, Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and a handful of other cities:

Protest over Tyre Nichols' killing

Protest over the police killing of Tyre Nichols

In addition to second-degree murder charges, the police officers are facing indictments for aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping.

There’s been a lot of talk on social media over the fact the five officers that killed Tyre were Black. However, as people pointed out on Twitter, this is how white supremacy works:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

However, reports are now emerging that a sixth officer who was involved in Tyre’s killing was white – and authorities have done nothing so far about the role he played.

White supremacy

First, Memphis councillor JB Smiley Jr pointed out on Twitter that one officer had not been charged yet:

At that time, no details of this sixth officer were public. However, on 29 January, reports started emerging on Twitter that this was the officer who initially stopped Tyre – and he was white:

This led political organiser Amber Sherman to delve deeper, alleging she knew who the cop was:

As NEWSONE reported, a search shows that there is a Memphis police officer named Preston Hemphill. Tyre’s family are already questioning this, with his stepfather Rodney Wells saying in an interview:

There was a white officer that was tasing my son and we don’t understand how come his name was not put out there or mentioned in this whole fiasco

The fact authorities immediately charged the five Black cops shows that, even though the police is a white supremacist institution, if you’re white it will still protect you more – as one Twitter user pointed out:

Overall, though, Tyre’s killing isn’t about the skin colour of cops. Ultimately, the police as an institution is a white supremacist one. As author Wil Gafney said on Twitter:

Writer Jemele Hill said similar:

Meanwhile, the police killing of Tyre has sparked people to call once again for defunding or abolition of the police. As artist and activist Bree Newsome Bass said:

Abolitionism, especially around the police, is not just about the police – contrary to what some people might say. Joshua P Hill summed this up well:

Regardless of ethnicity or race, it was police officers that killed Tyre Nichols. And it was institutional white supremacy that took his life – as it does every time police in the US kill Black and brown people.


Featured image, additional images and additional reporting via Agence France-Presse

Support us and go ad-free

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us