South Dakota Top Blogs

News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Saturday, January 28, 2023

The medium that could and should change policing.

Three American events have been captured on video that show police at work and have been circulated throughout the nation and the world.  They are:

March 3, 1991:  Rodney King was stopped and beaten by police in Los Angeles,  Ca.   George Holliday, a plumber who lived near the site of the beating, recorded it on a video camera.

May 25, 2020:  George Floyd was arrested in a car outside of a store in Minneapolis on suspicion of passing counterfeit money.  A policeman held him down with a knee on his neck. Seventeen-year-old Darnella Fazier recorded Floyd's death by asphyxiation on her cell phone.

January 7, 2023:  Tyre Nichols was apprehended in a traffic stop in Memphis, Tn, and was severely beaten by several policemen, dying three days later from his wounds.  The videos from car and body cameras were made public January 27.

The King and Floyd videos were circulated as evidence of white officers killing black men.  The Guardian points out, "Nichols is at least the 80th person killed by police in the US so far this year."  His death is particularly troubling because it was at the hands of five black officers, who have been charged with murder.

Criminologists who have analyzed the Nichols video are puzzled by the viciousness, the relentlessness, and the intensity of the attack.  They commented that it appears motivated far beyond any law enforcement purpose, and it raises questions about motivation and police culture that any reform of police departments must answer.

People who think that the police killings of unarmed black men are wrong are pushing for legislation for police reform as a matter of civil rights, along with some intelligent gun control measures.  People have a right to life--a right not to be killed.  The U.S. has a deplorable record in that regard.

Some people think the killings are a patriotic act.  They think it is unAmerican to kneel in protest or demonstrate that lives matter.

The question is if America can embrace decency as a principle again.   Or is it competing with the Nazis to excel in lethal degradation?  Will the videos be regarded as objects of shame and atrocity, or will they comprise an entertaining night at the movies?



1 comment:

David Newquist said...

It turns out that one of the cameras that captured the beating of Tyre Nichols was an overhead camera mounted on a utility pole, part of Memphis" Skycap system.

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States