Tyre Nichols died at the hands of Memphis police officers. Other civil servants on-site failed to provide assistance that could have saved his life. This egregious loss must be yet another wake-up call that police reform is necessary for our Country in general and Tennessee in particular. Governor Lee’s silence on the topic is shameful: This is a time for leaders to step up and lead common-sense reform. Yet, Republicans in Nashville are bent on distracting people’s attention with an esoteric ban on drag performances or on infusing more divisiveness and culture wars by forcing local elections to be partisan.
Every year since 2015, over 1,000 people (25% of whom are Black) have been killed by police. Democrats cannot accept deaths like Tyre Nichols’ to be another statistic.
Democrats also cannot accept the systematic cuts to public services that have forced police officers to the front lines of homelessness, mental health crises, the opioid epidemic, and other social challenges for which they have not been trained.
As described in the national Democratic platform, we can root out systemic racism, break the school-to-prison pipeline, reform police training (focus on de-escalation and accountability), remove social interventions from police officers’ plates:
Democrats believe we must ensure real accountability for individual and systemic misconduct in our police departments, prevent law enforcement from becoming unnecessarily entangled in the everyday lives of Americans, and reimagine policing for the benefit and safety of the American people. In recent years, some innovative police departments have enacted evidence-based reforms to change their approach by investing in robust training and putting in place (…) strong standards governing conflict resolution, de-escalation, and use of force. We must build on these evidence-based approaches and implement them nationwide.
Together, we can find common-sense measures that will keep our communities safe and protect our community members’ lives. Let’s get to work.