The death of Tyre Nichols and others at the hands of police, is not a black or white thing, but rather about "accountability among the people who wear blue," according to Gerald Griggs, president of the Georgia NAACP.
Nichols' funeral was held Wednesday in Memphis, TN. He died days after being beaten by several Memphis police officers. Five officers are charged with murder in his death. Video of the beating was released to the public last week.
"There is a culture within law enforcement that cuts across racial lines," says Griggs adding "certain individuals feel that they are above the law."
As the Georgia General Assembly is currently in session, Georgia NAACP is calling for several legislative changes including: requiring all sworn law enforcement officers to have body-cams and mandating that independent prosecutors be assigned immediately in the event of a police-involved death. While on the federal level, "we need the removal of qualified immunity, we need the passage of the George Floyd Policing Act," national legislation that mandates certain standards of accountability in such cases.
The death of Rayshard Brooks at the hands of Atlanta police in June 2020 is what Griggs uses as an example of "those who think that they can kill, jump through a few hurdles, and still be exonerated." The officers initially charged with killing Brooks were later cleared.
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Griggs, who has been banging the drum for legislative changes on state and federal levels says they want elected officials to do more than just be outraged or shocked. "We are asking them to do what's necessary to prevent these deaths that are preventable within police custody."