When video footage of 25-year-old Rodney King being beaten by Los Angeles police was publicly broadcasted in 1991, it shocked the nation. A year later, in 1992, the acquittal of the four officers who had been caught on camera brutally wielding their batons against King’s body led to historic protests — Los Angeles burned for six days, and dozens of people lost their lives.
Sadly, that wasn’t the last time a Black person would be injured — or killed — by police. What we didn’t know 30 years ago was that the Rodney King footage was just the beginning of us being subjected to video after video of police brutality against Black people.
Over the last 30 years, the world has witnessed so many more have their lives taken by police: Mike Brown Jr. Tamir Rice. Philando Castile. Alton Sterling. Eric Garner. George Floyd.
And now, Tyre Nichols — a 29-year-old father, son, artist, photographer, and skateboarder.
Nichols died on Jan. 10, three days after a traffic stop with five Memphis police officers left him in critical condition.
In preparation for the expected Friday evening release of the bodycam footage of what the now-fired officers did to Nichols, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis warned it might be “the same, if not worse” than what was seen on the King tape.