I was scheduled to be a guest on Laura Ingraham’s television show tonight, but I was bumped for breaking news from Memphis.
On January 7, Tyre Nichols was stopped by Memphis police for what is said to be a routine traffic violation. For some reason, he fled and officers pursued him. One or more “altercations” followed, and Nichols ultimately was transported to a hospital, where he died. Five Memphis police officers have now been charged with second degree murder and other crimes.
An hour or so ago, the Memphis Police Department released videos that show at least some of what happened on that night. You can see all four videos here. I have only reviewed them briefly, but this one seems to give the best overall view of what happened. You can see that officers hit and kicked Nichols for no apparent reason:
This seems a pretty clear case of police abuse, but the Left has a problem: all of the officers involved are black, as was Nichols. So, how can they turn this incident into a race issue? No problem: CNNLOL headlines: “The police who killed Tyre Nichols were Black. But they might still have been driven by racism.” Of course: because “racism” explains everything.
More facts have yet to come out. One problem with video is that it seems to reveal everything, yet usually leaves important questions unanswered. Still, we can compare this incident with George Floyd’s death–something that Laura Ingraham’s producers considered doing, with me as the guest.
There are two obvious differences between the Nichols and Floyd cases. The first is that the Memphis officers clearly killed Nichols. They hit him and kicked him when there was no reason for doing so.
The Minneapolis officers, on the other hand, did not clearly kill George Floyd. They did not hit or kick Floyd. They knelt on him on the street, only because he insisted on their doing so. He was so big and strong that they could not make him sit still in the back seat of a squad car, which is all they wanted. It was Floyd who insisted that he lie on the street.
The method of restraint that was then used by the Minneapolis officers was approved by the Minneapolis Police Department and many others. It doesn’t kill you. And there was little or no physical evidence of asphyxiation. Floyd said that he couldn’t breathe for 20 minutes before anyone knelt on him. This was because his blood contained a lethal overdose of fentanyl and other drugs. A symptom of that overdose is that the lungs fill up with fluid. Hence Floyd’s repeated statements that he couldn’t breathe, long before he was restrained on the street.
The second difference between the two cases is that the officers in the Floyd case were mostly white. Derek Chauvin, the principal defendant, now imprisoned, is white, while one of the other officers was black and another was Hmong (as an Asian, an “honorary white” according to liberals). So they had the book thrown at them, even though it was far from clear that anything they did caused Floyd’s death.
But none of that matters to “activists.” So police departments across the country are prepared for riots. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:
Police and federal officials in the Twin Cities are taking precautions ahead of Friday night’s anticipated release of police video from Memphis showing officers fatally beating a young man three weeks ago.
In Minneapolis, Police Chief Brian O’Hara ordered that concrete barricades and metal fencing be erected as a precautionary measure outside headquarters in two police precincts. Officers’ regularly scheduled days off were canceled to bolster staffing through the weekend.
In an internal video message to police rank and file Monday, O’Hara braced personnel for the Memphis video and outlined clear expectations should large-scale protests erupt in Minneapolis.
There is a good reason why the Minneapolis Police Department is defending its precinct stations with “concrete barricades and metal fencing.” In the George Floyd riots, the city’s Third Precinct station was abandoned by order of civic authorities and destroyed by rioters.
Owners of Twin Cities gun shops have also been warned to watch out for rioters and looters.
I could well be wrong, but I doubt that the Memphis incident will spark large-scale rioting, if only because most people have the common sense to understand that an incident in which all participants are of the same race is not a racial incident.
UPDATE: One point that will not receive enough attention is, why did Nichols flee the police after a routine traffic stop? I don’t know. No one I know would do such a thing. But drugs are often involved in suspects’ irrational responses to police presence. Likely we will learn more as time goes on.
STEVE comments: We still don’t have all the details or an adequate account allowing for careful judgment. However, the race-mongers saying that “racism” may explain it—even though all five officers are black—might ironically be correct: how many of these officers were hired through an affirmative action program? If they were, expect this to be hushed up.