I’m hungry. Born in poverty and bred on making do with what you’ve got, I cannot explain this craving. I cannot put my finger on this desire for things to balance out, to work out for the good of those who are beaten mercilessly.
God knows that I’ve not seen it work out– not on city streets, not in bank accounts, not in marriages or in churches, even though his believers are called the bride of Christ. No, it doesn’t work out when the cry is for justice.
It didn’t work out that night for Tyre Nichols, a 29- year- old African American man from Memphis. I protested in the streets of Washington, D.C. after the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, only for things to turn out like this.
Even with body cameras and surveillance, his life ends like this: “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating,” according to the autopsy report.
Maybe I should have laid prostrate on the ground longer when marking the minutes that Floyd was pinned down? Maybe I should have pushed my feet down into the pavement and stood my ground. Maybe I should have said louder, “Ain’t gonna’ let nobody turn me around!”
None of it hit the spot because Nichols was still tased, punched, kicked, and beaten with a baton for three long minutes by five Memphis police officers. I’m not satisfied because he didn’t make it home. Instead, Nichols pleaded and called out for his mother just like George Floyd did.
Weak and defenseless, he just wanted to be comforted, cradled in his mother’s arms as he was in the beginning. Maybe he could see the end of his life in sight and everything was playing back from the beginning.
There seems to be no end in sight as authorities gaslight communities. “You can protest but do it peacefully and quietly.” “There is no place for violence.”
But there was and we all saw it. It happened right outside of Nichols’s car. “I hope they stomp his ass,” Preston Hemphill said, a sixth officer who has been relieved of duty. Hemphill also tased him.
That’s not one bad apple; that’s half a dozen and more than enough to spoil a police department. It’s almost enough to spoil my appetite and to ruin the belief that things will turn out right.
But I smell something cooking. And I know it’s late but tonight, I just want justice.