IG news Update,
As five Memphis police officers attacked Tyra Nichols with their feet, fists and batons, others moved around the scene, even as the 29-year-old screamed in pain and then collapsed on the side of a car. Gone.
Like the attack on George Floyd in Minneapolis nearly three years ago, a simple intervention could have saved a life. Instead, Nichols is dead and five officers have been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes.
There could be more disciplinary action now that harrowing video of Nicholls’ treatment has been released. Memphis police relieved two other officers of duty Monday and said the department is still investigating what happened. The Memphis Fire Department also fired three emergency response crews who arrived at the scene for failing to assess Nichols’ condition.
The Memphis and Minneapolis Police Departments are among several US law enforcement agencies with “duty to intervene” policies. The Memphis Protocol is clear: “Any member who perceptively observes in another member dangerous or criminal conduct or abuse of a subject shall take appropriate action to intervene.”
It’s not just a policy, it’s the law. Three Minneapolis officers who failed to stop former officer Derek Chauvin from kneeling on Floyd’s neck as the black man said he couldn’t breathe have all been convicted of federal civil rights violations.
Experts agree that peer pressure, and in some cases fear of reprisal in the minds of executives, is what fails to deter colleagues from bad actions.
“They’re afraid of being ostracized,” said George Kirkham, professor emeritus of criminology at Florida State University and former police officer. “You have to rely on those people. It’s the thin blue line. When you’re out there and stuck in a jam, you don’t have anyone but other cops to help you.”
Nichols was pulled over in a traffic stop on the night of January 7. Body camera video shows him being beaten while officers cussed, even as Nichols seemed confused about what he had done wrong. He fled amid the commotion and was eventually caught at another intersection, a short distance from his mother’s house.
Security camera images from that scene show two officers holding Nichols to the ground while a third appears to kick him in the head. Later, another officer repeatedly strikes Nichols with a baton as another officer holds him down.
The officers pull Nichols to his feet, though he can barely stand. An officer punches him in the face, and Nichols stumbles away, still being held by two officers. After throwing more punches, he falls. But the attack continues.
When it ends, Nikolas slumps against a car. It would take more than 20 minutes for medical attention to be provided, although three members of the fire department arrived on the scene with medical equipment within 10 minutes. Those workers, two medics and a lieutenant who were with them, were among the employees fired late Monday.
Chuck Wechsler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based think tank, said intervention policies became common after officers attacked and fatally wounded Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1992.
Wechsler said, “But having a policy and what many argue is a culture in policing are two different things.” “Just having a policy isn’t enough. You need to practice. You need to talk it through.”
In some cases, officials’ concerns about retaliation for intervening have proved to be justified.
In Buffalo, New York, Officer Cariol Horn was a year away from getting her pension when she faced departmental charges after pulling a fellow officer’s arm by the throat of a domestic violence suspect in 2006. He was fired. In 2021 a state Supreme Court judge restored his pension and overturned his dismissal.
Last year in Sunrise, Florida, Sgt. Christopher Pullies was criminally charged after an incident captured on video in which an unidentified female officer pulled Pullies by the belt and away from a handcuffed suspect after Pullies pointed pepper spray at her. Pulis responded by putting his hand on his colleague’s neck and pushing him, the video shows.
Experts were also surprised that no police department supervisors were present during the Memphis incident. He said that if they had, the result might have been different.
The former New York City police sergeant said, “I was a bystander for a long time, and you’re showing up on the scene, even unannounced. People are, for lack of a better adjective, stupid things.” prevents it from doing so because of.” Joseph Giacalone, who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
Memphis Police Director Cerelin “CJ” Davis said the police department has a supervisor shortage and called the supervisor shortage “a big problem” in the incident. Davis on Saturday disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit, whose officers were involved in the beating.
University of Missouri-St. Louis criminologist David Klinger said that decisions on whether or not to intervene in the actions of a police colleague are not always cut and dry. He said one officer could see a weapon that is blocked from another’s view, for example, and stepping in at the wrong time could put the lives of officers at the scene at risk.
“The training needs to be precise about the conditions that warrant intervention,” Klinger said.