Images from video footage of five Black Memphis Police officers punching, kicking, and fatally beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols outraged many, including basketball star LeBron James. But many weren’t happy with James’ sentiments.
Nichols was stopped on Jan. 7 for what police reported as “reckless driving.” The body cam footage, released on Jan. 27, showed the violent interaction between the officers and Nicolas that killed him. Police are seen rushing Nichols’ car, yelling and threatening him with their guns raised. One officer yanked open the driver’s side door and pulled Nichols, who can be heard protesting that he “did not do anything.”
He gets on the ground and lies on his side, pleading with the officers to stop and saying, “I’m just trying to get home,” as they physically pin different parts of his body. Nichols appears to show no resistance, even as one officer threatens to “break” his hands. Then, an officer directs pepper spray into his face, prompting Nichols to get up from the ground and run away. Next, one officer fired a Taser at him. The group of police pursued and soon located Nichols, not far from his home, The New York Times reported. Police tackled him to the ground.
The police then severely beat Nichols, who can be heard crying out in pain and calling out repeatedly for his mother. The beating lasted about three minutes, and Nichols never appeared to fight back.
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When it ended, officers dragged Nichols over to a police car and propped him up against it. It does not appear he received medical attention for several minutes.
Nichols was the father of a 4-year-old boy and worked at a FedEx facility. He died in a hospital three days later, on Jan. 10.
Five police officers were fired last week and charged on Jan. 26 with seven felony counts each, the most severe being second-degree murder.
In response to the fact that the officers involved in Nicolas’ death were Black, James tweeted, “WE ARE OUR OWN WORSE ENEMY!!!”
While some on Black Twitter agreed, others blasted James. Many pointed out his grammar error, pointing out he should have written “worst” instead of “worse.” Others accused James of ignoring the real enemy–white supremacy.
“The fact that black people are literally the only race to castigate their entire race for the actions of individuals, further proves those cops are agents of WS because the black mind is on WS autopilot. How often do you hear Whites, Asians, etc say this about their race?” Negrodamus tweeted.
Some wondered how James came to his conclusion.
“That’s your takeaway?” asked popular audio producer and digital storyteller Kinsey Clarke under the Twitter name “medusa.”
Gregg “Marcel” Dixon, a progressive Democrat who ran for election to the U.S. House to represent South Carolina’s 6th Congressional District, tweeted, “YALL’S “hero” who said NOTHING about the murder of Jayland Walker, has said NOTHING about #reparations but speaks up for white Jews, is arranging for his son to give his wealth to a white family, and obviously never got pass page ONE!”
Dixon lost in the Democratic primary on June 14, 2022.
Democratic Rep. Christopher Benjamin, a member of the Florida House of Representatives representing District 107, tweeted back to James, “… when you make a public statement like this, our enemies latch on to it and point to it as proof and our youth then ask why are we fighting prejudice and racism if we are our own worst enemy.”
Many wondered why James failed to talk about white supremacy.
“In a roundabout way, you’re regurgitating white supremacist talking points. As well as absolving systemic racism of fostering a culture that encourages this behavior. The same people who’ve told you “Shut up and dribble” in the past will retweet this. You’re doing their work,” tweeted The Foncé.