Left-wing CNN commentator Van Jones authored an opinion piece suggesting that the former police officers charged in the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols may have been tainted by racism, even though the officers are black, as was the victim.
The five men, who have all been fired from the Memphis Police Department, were charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and more. Video footage of the Jan. 7 incident was released on Friday. Nichols died just days after incident.
Jones contended that the black officers could have been influenced by racism.
"In short, racial animus can still be a factor, even when the perpetrators are all Black," he wrote.
"At the end of the day, it is the race of the victim who is brutalized — not the race of the violent cop — that is most relevant in determining whether racial bias is a factor in police violence. It's hard to imagine five cops of any color beating a White person to death under similar circumstances. And it is almost impossible to imagine five Black cops giving a White arrestee the kind of beat-down that Nichols allegedly received," Jones asserted.
"One of the sad facts about anti-Black racism is that Black people ourselves are not immune to its pernicious effects. Society’s message that Black people are inferior, unworthy and dangerous is pervasive. Over many decades, numerous experiments have shown that these ideas can infiltrate Black minds as well as White. Self-hatred is a real thing," he wrote. "That's why a Black store owner might regard customers of his same race with suspicion, while treating his White patrons with deference. Black people can harbor anti-Black sentiments and can act on those feelings in harmful ways."
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