Tyre Nichols and the Black Elephant in the Room

Like they always do when a black man is killed during an arrest, ideologues are using the tragic death of Tyre Nichols to push an agenda. The case presents atypical challenges for the ideologue, namely that the five officers involved are black. While the true believers of “antiracism” are insisting that white supremacy is somehow to blame, demagogues of the more circumspect variety have calibrated their language a step. Joe Biden, for once, isn’t ranting about “white supremacy.” But the underlying message is the same as always: Tyre Nichols is the victim of a system that brutalizes black people. 

To the propagandists’ benefit, the police video is graphic and fairly unambiguous in depicting the use of excessive force. But that is where the truth ends. Nichols was not killed by white supremacists, for reasons that are obvious to any rational person. Nor does Nichols’ death depict police brutality per se. What one sees in the video is a group of poorly trained, impulsive mercenaries beating a fellow hood to a bloody pulp. It is the viciousness of the inner city in all its ugliness laid bare. How many incidents just like this happen without a peep of protest every Saturday night on the South Side of Chicago?

The social justice ideologue never acknowledges the reason blacks get into so many dangerous altercations with police in the first place: crime. Blacks are much more likely to be murdered by other civilian blacks than by police, and they are about twice as likely to murder a white as vice versa. The disproportionately high black crime rate does not excuse the abuse of police power when it happens, but it does suggest that police brutality against blacks is not nearly the pressing social problem that this crime rate is. The entire public framing of the issue is skewed by the suppression of awkward truths.

Why did a routine traffic stop result in death? The Left insists that “driving while black” is treated like a crime. But the public has seen enough of these bodycam videos to have noticed a significant pattern: almost invariably, the black suspects refuse cooperation before things go south. While resistance does not automatically justify deadly force, this commonly observed recalcitrance is a good reason to give police the benefit of the doubt. In most of these cases, the police are doing the best they can. They have the thankless task of maintaining order in communities beset by violence and anarchy. In the era of Black Lives Matter, this chaos is officially encouraged by the state and its warped “social justice” agenda, which makes cops into demons and criminals into angels.

The Left’s preposterous attempt to tie the Tyre Nichols case to white supremacy shows that the race of the cop no longer matters to the ideologue. The race of the victim is what counts. Police brutality is never an issue when the victim is white. Prolific race baiter Al Sharpton says the officers involved in Tyre Nichols’ death shouldn’t be permitted to “hide” behind their “blackness.” At first glance, Sharpton sounds like he’s speaking from principle. (Imagine? Al Sharpton, principled?) But the premise is that “blackness” is a kind of privilege that makes it an injustice when a black man is killed by police, but not a white woman like Ashli Babbitt, whose execution the Left has celebrated. 

The Left doesn’t have a problem with excessive police force per se, but with policing in black communities at all. Their specious crusade against “police brutality” is one large and costly exercise in evasion. The vast majority of mass shootings in America happen in particular neighborhoods of particular cities, not in the suburbs. But the demagogues are always finding ways to blame white people for gun violence. 

In the case of Tyre Nichols, the usual race propaganda is crashing into reality, but the ideologues are escalating. Meanwhile, there were 300 murders in Memphis, a city of 600,000, last year. El Salvador, one of the most violent countries in the world, had 500 murders after a crackdown on gangs like MS-13. 

Civilization, in the end, is upheld by force. In areas where anarchy is of an unusual degree, a higher degree of force is needed. It really is that simple. Rather than confront violence in the hood, the Left blames whites and further hamstrings already demoralized, overworked cops. The result will be more disorder and, ultimately, the need for more heavy-handed policing in the communities that need it most. 

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About Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a Mt. Vernon fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a staff writer and weekly columnist at the Conservative Institute. His writing has also appeared in the Daily Caller. Follow him on Twitter @matt_boose. ‏

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

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