Outrage ignited across the country after video was released showing five Memphis police officers beating a subdued Tyre Nichols during a traffic stop. Nichols later died from his injuries. It was unacceptable, and more than an act of police brutality. It’s the elephant in the room: Black on Black crime.
The country witnessed what African Americans deal with every day: Black men killing Black men. I once saw a group of Black men beating another Black man to death in front of a community center. I was five years old.
According to a recent study, despite comprising 14% of the population, African Americans account for 52% of homicide victims. According to FBI data, 89% of Black victims were killed by Black offenders.
In the Nichols case, the Black men charged with killing Nichols were police officers, and face criminal prosecution. However, for Black victims of homicide not involving police, 59% go unsolved. Their killers face no repercussions. Many, especially those in gangs, see murder as a bragging right, mocking their victims through drill rap songs and on social media.
Although all of Nichols’ alleged killers were Black, many media commentators and activists on the left have pointed the finger at “white supremacy” as the underlying cause of his death. In this worldview, Blacks who kill Blacks are not to blame, they are misguided individuals in need of help.
Due to the actions of a few, the Black community has become inundated with violence, drugs, and crime. The solution lies within the community itself. Many ethnic communities have historically “self-policed,” keeping an eye on the neighborhood and taking accountability. There is no shortage of violence prevention nonprofits around the country, and yet violence against Black people continues.
Religious leaders hold press conferences and prayer vigils, and the shootings and stabbings go on. The only entity with the capacity to clean up crime in the Black community is the criminal justice system.
Bad cops must be weeded out – but that doesn’t ignore the fact that the Black community needs the police.
Rasheed Walters is an entrepreneur, political commentator and historian. He is a member of Project 21, and resides in Boston. Follow him on Twitter @rasheednwalters.