What Should the Memphis Police Department Have Done With the Video of Tyre Nichols?


Soundharjya Babu

The Robert Morris University community gathered to remember and honor Antwon Rose Jr., who was shot and killed by Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosdeld in June 2018. Photo Date: March 29, 2019. Photo Credit: (RMU Sentry Media/Soundharjya Babu)

Terryaun Bell

Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, was assaulted by five police officers. On Friday, the City of Memphis Police Department released the video.

“The videos were released so the world could witness the family’s pain,” according to an article from NBC news. It was also released sooner to get witnesses’ accounts of the assault.

“Should the videos have been released” was now the question Robert Morris University (RMU) students and Dr. Anthony Moretti, a professor at RMU, gathered to answer.

Should The Videos Have Been Released?

When Moretti asked his evening class, all students who participated in the discussion said the video should have been shared.

“I think that it’s one of the most credible sources because you’re actually witnessing what happened,” said Sydney Martin, an RMU student.

Videos showcased multiple angles of the assault, three of which were from the police officer’s body cameras, and one was from a surveillance camera mounted on a nearby pole.

They showed Tyre Nichols being punched, struck with a police baton, sprayed with some irritant, and seemingly kicked in the face.

With these videos shared five ex-Memphis police officers were charged with Nichol’s death, and two were relieved of duty. The videos also allowed people to gain a better understanding of the brutality of the situation.

While all the students agreed that the video should have been shared, the conversation took both sides into account.

With the release of the video, Nichols runs the risk of his death becoming another spectacle according to Ryan McCafferty, another RMU student.

Many names of African-American men and women were forgotten throughout history, hence why the chant, “say their names” came to light. Tyre’s family should be concerned with mourning their son, not about him becoming another nameless statistic, another black square on Instagram or another display of performative activism.

When is enough, enough?

There have been countless lives lost to police brutality over the past three years alone, alongside countless movements to try and prevent situations like this from happening.

It’s happening so often, that students and people are becoming desensitized to videos of this nature.

“Unfortunately, it’s going to take something that is so indefensible and outlandish, that it makes people say enough is enough,” said Moretti.