Video Tyre Nichols: The Texas Southern Professor thinks police reform is slow but progress is on
Houston, Texas (KTRK) – Some people who have been pushing for police reform say it feels very much like 2020 again. As a nation, we are once again grappling with the video evidence of police brutality that resulted in the death of an unarmed black person.
Federal legislation to combat police misconduct, excessive violence, and racial prejudice proposed after the summer death of George Floyd never passed. Since 2020, the number of people killed by the police has only gone up. This does not mean that all of these protests were in vain, said a professor at Texas Southern University.
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The cries to end police violence from nearly three years ago sound similar to those heard on the streets of Memphis.
Howard Henderson is the director of the Justice Research Center at Texas Southern University. “We didn’t think we’d be here today, did we? We thought we’d fixed these problems,” said Henderson.
Henderson added that it takes time to fix systems.
“It is important to note that changing violent behavior and the violent subculture is a long-term and challenging process, but one that requires commitment from ministry leadership, officials, and the community.”
That commitment has not made it to the federal level, but President Joe Biden is now pledging to renew efforts to pass the George Floyd Justice in Police Act.
“What’s at stake here is innocent lives, number one. Number two, there’s a lot to say and do with America’s image. It has a lot to do with whether we are the country we say we are,” he said. .
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Despite the inaction in Washington, the Houston Police Department has implemented some of the reforms that protesters have pushed for, such as bans on excessive force, chokeholds, no-knock warrants, and the mandatory issuance of body cameras showing police killings within 30 days.
Henderson says that what cannot be changed by outside pressure must come from within.
“You have to create a culture of accountability. You have to promote transparency and openness. At the end of the day, you have to encourage officers to help identify and solve these problems,” Henderson said.
He described a cultural shift that could lead to slow but steady progress as people satisfied with the Nichols photo arrests and charges continue to push for convictions.
“I think we’re progressing. You now see more police officers being held accountable than ever before, and unfortunately, there are people who have to die to see this. That’s the sad part about it,” he said.
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