Leaders of the Black community in Lake County demanded tighter control over police forces on Monday in the wake of the detention of five Memphis, Tennessee, officers for the beating death of Tyre Nichols.
Six leaders and activists held a news conference in the lobby of the Waukegan police department as more information about the incident and the second-degree murder charges against the five officers who beat and pepper-sprayed Nichols, 29, after a traffic stop on January 7 continued to come out.
Video shows that Nichols did not fight back when police beat him after they pulled him over for driving recklessly. The leader of the Black Lives Matter group in Lake County, Clyde McLemore, said Monday that the videos were made public by the city of Memphis and the Shelby County District Attorney.
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“This is transparency. It’s the historically biased culture of policing that killed Tyre,” said McLemore, who also said that the quick release is something that all authorities should try to do.
Tio Hardiman of Violence Interrupters said that Nichols’ death shows how important it is to have programmes that check on police officers’ mental health and help them deal with their anger.
“Whenever you have five men — Black men — beating up another African-American male, whether they were white or Black, it sends a message that something’s not going right in the minds of these officers out here,” Hardiman said. “How could they block out the fact that they were beating a brother to death?”
McLemore said that how people in Memphis reacted to the video was different from how people reacted when former Waukegan police officer Dante Salinas was charged in the death of city resident Marcellis Stinnette. Salinas wasn’t charged until 2020, two years after he shot and killed Stinnette in October 2020.
McLemore said that not all of the videos from that event have been made public. Waukegan Mayor Ann Taylor said in a statement released Monday afternoon that none of the officers involved in the Stinnette case are still on the force.
“We know that when the police are involved in a big problem, people want answers,” Taylor said. “We try to be as open as possible while protecting the rights of victims and making sure that ongoing investigations are fair.”
Salinas has been charged with second-degree murder, and she is free on bond while she waits for her trial.
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