Our hearts are with the family of Tyre Nichols and the people of Memphis, after Nichols was brutally murdered by Memphis police.
This kind of police violence is not new to Memphis where victims of police brutality and misconduct who aren’t killed are traumatized and where 25% of the city is tied up in the legal system. Dr. Duane T. Loynes Sr. wrote in the Commercial Appeal that “growing up Black in Memphis, it was widely known that if police officers had to chase you, they would violently beat you if they caught you.”
Organizers with Official Black Lives Matter Memphis and Decarcerate Memphis have been leading work on traffic justice for 3 years. Just a month before Tyre Nichols’ murder by Memphis police, Decarcerate called on the Memphis city council to end pretextual traffic stops and presented data on how even in a majority Black city, Black people are disproportionately targeted and harassed in traffic stops.
We invite you to join us to show up for organizers in Memphis demanding justice for Tyre Nichols.
Organizers have already forced the city to release the video and to shut down the SCORPION task force. They are demanding the end of police involvement in traffic enforcement, disbanding other harmful MPD task forces, and stopping the use of unmarked cars.
Please use the Decarcerate Memphis toolkit to contact the Mayor and city council to amplify these demands: bit.ly/JUSTICE4TYRE
Donate to the bail fund in Memphis hosted by BLM Memphis.
For those of you not in Memphis, do you have task forces like the SCORPION task force in Memphis? Federal funds often flow directly to police units like the SCORPION task force, one mechanism by which racist police violence is enacted. Are there campaigns from local organizations calling to remove police from traffic stops for you to plug in to?
In California, the Anti Police-Terror Project has been working on getting police out of traffic for several years now. The city of Oakland committed to exploring police out of traffic as part of the 2021 Reimagining Public Safety Taskforce, which was brought forth through the George Floyd rebellions. Berkeley similarly committed to advancing alternatives to traffic cops. San Francisco just banned certain pretexutal stops with some of the best language on that issue in the country.
It is important for us to act, to learn from each other, and to extend our solidarity in whatever ways we can.
- Justice 4 Tyre toolkit: bit.ly/JUSTICE4TYRE
- Decarcerate Memphis Report on Policing in Memphis
- The Tyre Nichols Video is Brutal and Sadly Quite Normal by Dr. Duane T. Loynes Sr.
- What Would Have Saved Tyre Nichols’ Life? by Derecka Purnell
- Movement for Black Lives Statement on Police Murder of Tyre Nichols