The video of Tyre Nichols’ death didn’t need a countdown

Michael Arceneaux
Published in
4 min readJan 28

There was an uncomfortable build up to the release of Footage of Nichols’ brutal murder at the hands of five Memphis police officers.

Photo: @AttorneyCrump/Twitter

I don’t believe you can prepare the masses for a lynching, but the Memphis Police Department, the media, and the politicians that enable police brutality all certainly tried.

In the leading days to the release of body cam footage showing five Memphis police officers severely beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, who later died of his injuries, law enforcement officials wanted to not only warn us of the brutal visual awaiting us, but that they were angry about what happened.

Cerelyn “CJ” Davis, police chief of the Memphis Police Department, told CNN’s Don Lemon that she was “outraged” after seeing the “alarming” video — describing it as about the same if not worse” than footage of Rodney King being beaten by Los Angeles police officers in 1991.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation director David Rausch said, “I’m sickened by what I saw” and described the officers’ actions as “absolutely appalling.”

And FBI director Christopher Wray shared with reporters, “I’ve seen the video myself and I will tell you I was appalled. I’m struggling to find a stronger word but I will just tell you I was appalled.”

As appalling as the footage is, however, we were also told to remain calm once what happened was made public.

On Thursday, President Biden released a statement: “I join Tyre’s family in calling for peaceful protest. Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable.”

There are many people who understandably believe that the police can not be reformed. Joe Biden is not one of those people, though. As a candidate, Biden promised to pass legislation following the brutal killing of George Floyd at the hand of Minneapolis police officers — which sparked international protests.

As president, Biden failed to deliver on that promise.

In spite of that failure, he routinely dismisses those that believe in defunding the police, repeatedly stressing that the answer is to not defund the police.

Michael Arceneaux

New York Times bestselling author of “I Can’t Date Jesus” and “I Don’t Want To Die Poor.”