D’Zhane Parker, a Board member for the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation released the following statement regarding the video footage released of the brutal murder of Tyre Nichols at the hands of the Memphis Police Department:
“Tyre should be alive today. He mattered to everyone except those upholding state-sanctioned violence and a dangerous cycle of white supremacy. Tyre was overwhelmingly loved by his community, family, and friends. He’s described as a Mama’s boy who looked forward to his Mama’s homemade chicken with sesame seeds. He loved skating since he was 6, and used photography as a creative outlet. Experiencing sunsets was a major part of what he adored about experiencing life.
Today, our community is grieving another beautiful Black life stolen by state-sanctioned violence. There continues to be a consistent failure of our current public safety model to protect Black lives and communities. We are tired of traffic stops becoming death sentences. We deserve a system that prioritizes holistic, health-centered, community-driven approaches that will help advance true public safety. We continue to be devastated by the current system that prioritizes punishment, harm, and criminalization.
Five police officers brutally beat Tyre to death. Although the media has spent a great amount of time drawing attention to the fact that the police officers are Black, as if that is important, let us be clear: ALL police represent the interest of capitalism and impel state-sanctioned violence. Anyone who works within a system that perpetuates state-sanctioned violence is complicit in upholding white supremacy. Assimilation into a system that is anti-Black is one of the most dangerous weapons stemming from white supremacy.
This moment affirms what we’ve known all along: Reform doesn’t work. Incremental progress is too slow. Diversifying a police department will not work. No police department, no matter how diverse, can ever overcome the reality that it is a direct descendant of slave patrols. Police will never keep our communities safe. Our call to defund the police includes ending traffic stops for minor traffic violations and removing police from traffic interactions.
We are in solidarity with Tyre’s family as they seek accountability and uplift their demand that the city of Memphis disband the “special” crime unit that murdered their loved one. Black Lives Matter will continue to push for an abolitionist approach to public safety that moves us swiftly towards community-driven approaches that work.”
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