Incarceration Nation

Straight out of Memphis

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

It could have been anywhere, but fate chose Memphis, Tennessee, the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. breathed his last breath, and a musician named Elvis was crowned king. Memphis. In ancient Egypt, it was a city on the Nile. In the U.S., it’s a city on the Mississippi.

Now it’s known as the city where a young black man, Tyre Nichols, was brutally beaten by five Black cops. On camera, the five members of a so-called Anti-Crime Unit, known as the SCORPIONS, forced the 29-year-old Nichols to exit his car while they tasered him, chased him, and literally beat him to death.

Protests have erupted across America, but who really believes that real substantial change will come? These cops had body cameras on them, but it didn’t stop them from punching, kicking, tasing, and assaulting Nichols with a metal retractable baton. So much for thinking that body cameras would slow down brutality. Indeed, it didn’t even deter such events.

Once again, a Black man in the hands of cops, sensing impending death, calls for help from often the only person who loves him: his mother. The video of the beating is a lesson after George Floyd of how much nothing has changed.

With love, not fear, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.