By now, you’ve likely heard about the gaggle of La Vergne, Tennessee, cops who got caught copulating on company time and lying about it during an investigation into the allegations. If you’re unaware of what happened, now-former officer Megan Hall was accused of engaging in sex-cop-ades with six male officers. Hall was fired along with four of the six officers she’s accused of having steamy and salacious sex romps with while the other two officers were suspended.
Now, obviously, there have been plenty of jokes made at the expense of Hall and her blue-sex-lives-matter co-conspirators. I mean, it’s the kind of story that easily lends itself to humor. Just think of all the quips that can be made about the probable misuse of department-issue handcuffs or the fact that this isn’t exactly the kind of gang-bang police are meant to be policing. Predictably, the term “blue balls” has come up a lot.
But there’s a much more serious side to this story and I would be remiss if I didn’t point out one notable truth: It was far easier to fire these cops for having consensual sex than it often is to fire cops for killing and/or brutalizing Black people.
For example, in the midst of the La Vergne blue-on-blue sex scandal going viral, another story involving another law enforcement agency in Tennessee police backs up that premise: In Memphis, police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are currently looking into the death of a Black man named Tyre Nichols, who died in a hospital a few days after his encounter with police.
On January 8, the police department announced officers pulled over a motorist for reckless driving the previous day. “As officers approached the driver of the vehicle, a confrontation occurred and the suspect fled the scene on foot,” officials said in a statement posted on social media.
Officers pursued the suspect and again attempted to take him into custody when another confrontation occurred before the suspect was apprehended, according to police.
The man, identified as Tyre Nichols, died a few days later, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The city’s release said the bureau is looking into the officers’ use of force and the police department is investigating whether agency policy was violated. The police department’s administrative investigation should be finished later this week, according to the news release.
Immediately following the incident, the officers involved were relieved of duty, pending the outcome of the investigations. Police did not release how many officers were involved in the incident.
“After reviewing various sources of information involving this incident, I have found that it is necessary to take immediate and appropriate action,” Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis said in a statement released Sunday. “Today, the department is serving notice to the officers involved of the impending administrative actions.”
Unfortunately, in cases like this one, “immediate and appropriate action” rarely means immediately firing police officers, if they’re fired at all. Think about how it took more than two years for even a single cop to be fired behind the killing of Breonna Taylor. Similarly, it took two years for any of the cops allegedly involved in Elijah McClain‘s death to face any charges, and the only ones to be fired were the cops who were caught in shared photos re-enacting the chokehold the 23-year-old suffered before his death. We won’t even talk about all the legal inaction the world continues to see after witnessing the NYPD employ an illegal chokehold on Eric Garner for the misdemeanor and nonviolent crime of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.
In fact, there are so many examples of cops either not being fired or not being terminated in a timely manner after killing a Black person unjustly that it would be quicker to list the instances where cops were immediately fired after high-profile cases involving Black victims came to light. (Honestly, George Floyd is the only one I can think of off the top of my head, and that firing likely wouldn’t have happened so fast if the entire world hadn’t seen video footage of Floyd’s in-custody murder.)
Conversely, Hall and the other cops involved in the Tennessee sex scandal were fired before the story even started trending in the news. And those cops didn’t kill anyone. Their only “crimes” were sexing and lying about it. It might be an entertaining story, but, ultimately, who cares?
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