Tyre Nichols Incident Ignites Larger Conversations Within Communities


Emily Silva

Boston pays tribute to Tyre Nichols at The Embrace

On Tuesday, January 10, 2023, history repeated itself when Tyre Nichols, 29,  a black man with a four-year-old son, died from injuries he sustained at the hands of the police. Three days earlier, five officers had accosted and beaten him for his supposed speeding in Memphis, TN. 

The Memphis Police Department responded quickly to this situation, firing the five black officers on January 20. A white officer who was present did not intervene to stop his coworkers, and as Nichols fled the scene of his beating, the white officer shot his taser at Nichols. This officer was fired on February 3, after the black policemen, which infuriated many people.

Citizens all over the country have protested the murder of Nichols. His mother called for peaceful protests, and for the most part, people have abided. They gathered in New York and marched in Boston to show their anger about this situation

High-profile incidents identified as police brutality. (Taylor Aptt and Gillian Horner)

This is not an isolated incident.  HWRHS teachers have addressed such incidents, recent and historical, in their classes.

HWRHS history teacher Brett Burnett said, “We have covered that in my humanity’s class in-depth.”

Many parallels can be seen between this incident and events from the past, such as Rodney King’s beating in 1991, and, more recently, the George Floyd calamity in 2020. 

These events continue to spark a national conversation about how to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

HWRHS Resource Officer, Gina Bertelli suggested that careful selection of police officers is key to preventing these incidents. Bertelling says, “it’s about working with the best people you have… it’s important to really filter out those who are maybe on the line so that you can prevent something like this, and [it’s also important to] make sure [police officers are] trained and educated properly.”

Bertelli also suggests that to gain trust with the community, police officers should “just say hi to people, kind of take away that stigma that people are seeing in the news and media outlets.”

The Black Lives Matter website agrees that community trust plays a big role saying, “We deserve a system that prioritizes holistic, health-centered, community-driven approaches that will help advance true public safety.”

While there is no single solution change has to be made in order to ensure that incidents like what happened to Tyre Nichols don’t repeat.