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Crump: Officer’s race does not determine whether they will use excessive force

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who’s representing the family of Tyre Nichols, said on Sunday that a police officer’s race does not determine if they will use excessive force.

“It is not the race of the police officer that is the determining factor, whether they’re going to engage in excessive use of force, but it is the race of the citizen, and oftentimes, it is the Black and brown citizens that bear the brunt of the brutality,” Crump told Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week.”

“You don’t see videos about our white brothers and sisters who are unarmed having this type of excessive force levied against them,” he continued.

Nichols, a 29-year old Black man, was pulled over for alleged reckless driving on Jan. 7 in Memphis, Tenn. Officers pulled him out of the car and pushed him to the ground before he ran away. The officers caught up to Nichols, and video footage shows him being beaten with a baton, punched and kicked for three minutes.

When more officers arrived on the scene, officials said, they waited another 20 minutes before getting Nichols medical care. Nichols died in the hospital three days after the encounter from the injuries.

Five Black officers were fired from the department and charged with second-degree murder in Nichols’s death.

Crump said on Sunday the “institutionalized police culture” and racial bias leads officers to feel that using excessive force against people of color is acceptable, no matter the officer’s own race.

“It’s part of the institutionalized police culture that makes it somehow allowed that they can use this type of excessive force and brutality against people of color,” Crump said. “And it doesn’t matter if the officers are Black, Hispanic, or white. It is part of the culture, this bias culture that said, ‘This is allowed.’ “

Crump also said the officers’ membership in a special unit contributed to Nichols’s arrest and the officers using excessive force on him. The Memphis Police Department announced Saturday that they deactivated the officers’ unit, Street Crimes Operations to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods (Scorpion).

Crump said on ABC that another man said he was assaulted by members of the Scorpion unit four or five days before Nichols was pulled over, and when the man tried to report it twice to the Memphis Police Department, his calls were not returned. Crump said if the man was able to report it, Nichols may not have been killed “in this tragic manner.”

Tags Ben Crump Ben Crump Martha Raddatz Memphis Police Department This Week Tyre Nichols

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