The hardest thing to fathom about the police murder of Tyre Nichols is the sheer madness and hatred of the Memphis cops, which was expressed in such a horrific way.

What had the young man done to deserve such a horrific death, to be hunted down like an animal and beaten so savagely that he died crying out for his mother?

Why did it need to take a phalanx of police to pursue a young man with no criminal record whose offense on the night was alleged careless driving and kill him?

Why drag him violently from his car even while he was being completely cooperative? What kind of murderous mentality took the police officers to the point where they beat the young man to death?

Why did the first cop who stopped him not issue a ticket and send him on his way as thousands of cops do every day across America without incident?

The naked hatred – even though all the cops were Black, as was the young man – is very difficult to understand.

This murder for once had no racial overtones, no handy scapegoating of white cops. This was about policing out of control, and the evidence of that was clear to all who saw the young man slumped to the ground dying while the police officers ignored him.

Watching the video of the murder should be a priority for every rookie cop in training in America. It displays, above all else, what happens when every shred of humanity is lost in the bloodlust of killing an innocent man.

The question should be asked how kicking an individual to death for no reason was some kind of a good idea to these cops, escalating a careless driving stop into a murder scene with them as the perpetrators.

The mood was like a horror scene out of Apocalypse Now, with the clear intent to beat to death a man in the wrong place at the wrong time to satisfy some evil warrior macho sentiment.

The cops acted like a bunch of savages, and once they caught up with Nichols, we witnessed in real time the murder by police thugs. 

Not one of the cops or two EMTs who arrived after the beating showed a single flicker of humanity or concern for the young man beaten to a pulp and clearly dying. They were enjoying their slaughter. Their language as was made plain on the police body camera was self-congratulatory, geared towards an immediate cover-up.

To them, they were fulfilling their vicious assignment as part of a so-called Scorpion unit bent on bringing down the criminal rate in Memphis. But the only criminals on this January night were themselves, their lack of any humanity expressed in the most dreadful way possible.

Tyre Nichols, 29, was a dad to a 4-year-old son. He loved to photograph sunsets and skateboard, a passion he’s had since he was a little boy.

If you want to share a video, share this one. It’s how his family wants him to be remembered. 🌅

— shafina (@shafinakhabani) January 27, 2023

The murderous behavior follows years of increasingly brutal killings by militarized cops out of control. We hear more and more of the need for de-escalation tactics. 

The cops had all the necessary knowledge to de-escalate and abandon the chase. The cops had the car, the license plate, everything they needed to identify Nichols and issue charges as they saw fit.

Instead, they went charging after him with murder on their minds. Their actions reflect badly even on the 99 percent of police officers who never draw their gun. A fundamental rethink on de-escalation is needed.

*This column first appeared in the February 1 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.