“Black” Police Brutality

Nature or Nurture?

4 min readFeb 16, 2023
Photo by Michael Förtsch on Unsplash

Nature vs. nurture has been debated for centuries. Police brutality can be seen through a similar lens, i.e., the nature of the job or police culture. The question is, which one has the biggest influence on police officers?

In Memphis, Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, was assaulted by five black police officers. Nichols died three days later in the hospital. The black officers involved, who were members of a special unit called SCORPION, were fired and charged. The video footage revealed that what happened to Nichols was an egregious act of police brutality.

For the past decade, the national media has focused on fatal police encounters between white police officers and black victims. This intense coverage created a national concern about a racist police culture. Since the officers involved in Nichols’ death were black, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis told an interviewer that the Nichols incident removed the notion that the problems with law enforcement centered around race.

Apparently, Chief Davis, a black woman who runs a police department that is 58 percent black in a city that is 64 percent black, didn’t endorse the cookie-cutter notion about a racist police culture.

However, a host of opinion writers believed a racist police culture was the culprit in the…




J. Pharoah Doss is a columnist for the New Pittsburgh Courier.