Democrats and their media claimed that 5 black officers getting into a violent confrontation with a black suspect that ended in his death was somehow about systemic racism.
Police sources said it was about affirmative action promoting people who were unfit to be cops.
After refusing to even address the question, the Washington Post has an in-depth report that essentially confirms what police sources were saying.
The academy became more lenient in grading, and students were allowed more chances to retake exams — including at the shooting range — after failures that would have led to dismissal under previous rules, the current and former officers said. Incidents of cheating did not always trigger dismissal, as in the past, four officers said. Struggling students were invited to study sessions in which they were taught upcoming test material straight from exam books.
That kind of promotion is a familiar feature that begins in urban public schools and suffuses the affirmative action process at workplaces.
While exams may not seem like a big deal, policework is about knowing the rules, procedures and responses.
And it covers more serious stuff.
One student graduated the academy in 2017 after multiple allegations of wrongdoing — including accusations of sexually harassing an instructor, the former instructors said. He resigned two years later after turning off his body camera during a traffic stop and shooting a fleeing suspect, according to department records…
During the 135th training session, which began in August of that year, firearms instructors told the rest of the academy staff that three recruits failed their final shooting exams, two instructors said. Such a result historically meant dismissal from the academy — a red line that many instructors considered sacred, given the risk involved with employing officers who can’t properly use their weapons.
The Washington Post takes a long time to get around to the inevitable.
“We would voice our concerns, and it would go on deaf ears,” said James Lash, a former academy instructor and Crisis Intervention Team coordinator for the Memphis department who retired in 2022. “There were several officers in that group with Tyre Nichols that everybody wondered about when they were in the academy. You reap what you sow.”
Although I’m surprised that in 2023 anyone even dared write these words in a major newspaper.
Haley and the other four officers charged with murdering Nichols are Black. Each joined the department after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014, which triggered protests across the country and a renewed focus on diversifying law enforcement and revamping police training curriculums.
The hiring of Haley and several of the others coincided with a years-long effort in Memphis to field a police force that better reflected the racial makeup of the city. In 2014, the department was 46.7 percent White, while the city of Memphis is 27 percent White, according to census data. The department is now 37 percent White, according to the city’s website.
Memphis academy instructors said the racial dynamics involved in hiring in recent years — combined with the department’s staffing push — ruled out disciplinary measures they had once relied upon.
During the first week of the 123rd session, in 2017, a car blew past an instructor driving to the academy, going well over the speed limit, the instructor told Lash and others. The instructor told colleagues he caught up to the driver at a stoplight and followed him into the academy, making note of the name on the back of the driver’s uniform after he exited the vehicle, Lash and three others said.
In a meeting room with the entire class present, instructors identified the student and revealed what he’d done, said Lash, who said he considered the incident a teaching moment.
“It’s been determined you’re a reckless driver,” Lash recalled telling the recruit. “What should we do? We’re cops. We’re supposed to uphold the law.”
Lash’s lieutenant then proffered a pair of handcuffs, and Lash cuffed the recruit and led him out of the room and into a hallway. The recruit burst into tears, Lash said. He described uncuffing the recruit and talking to him about how police operate in a fishbowl. A few minutes later, he said, the recruit was allowed to rejoin the class.
The next day, Lash, his lieutenant and two other instructors were summoned to Rallings’s office to explain themselves, Lash said. The instructors were White, and the recruit was Black. Rallings said he’d received a complaint accusing the officers of racial bias and considered the handcuffing unacceptable, Lash recalled.
The lieutenant took responsibility, Lash said. He was soon working a midnight patrol shift, his time with the academy cut short. The lieutenant, who is still employed by the department, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The Memphis killing was caused by systemic racism after all. Not some sort of imaginary white systemic racism, but the ubiquitous systemic racism of affirmative action and diversity, combined with the soft bigotry of low expectations.
The systemic racism of affirmative action killed Tyre Nichols.