Civil rights activist Al Sharpton on Saturday accused the five black Memphis police officers charged with beating Tyre Nichols to death of being a “disgrace to our race.”
“Do this think cause you were black we wouldn’t say nothing?” fumed Sharpton while speaking at a rally to more than 100 people at his National Action Network headquarters in Harlem.
“Did you think that you’d hide behind your blackness?”
“I want to say loud and clear that we will fight black cops, white cops, any color cops that commit crimes against us, ” he added.
“Your blackness ain’t gonna stop us from fighting you. These five cops not only disgrace their badges — they disgrace our race.”
Sharpton also maintained the cops would not have been so aggressive with a white man.
“These black guys thought they could get away with it doing it to a black guy,” the reverend said. “You know you couldn’t get away with doing that in Tennessee to a white guy. You’ll find out you ain’t getting away with it doing it to a black guy.”
Read more of the Post’s coverage of Tyre Nichols’ beating death
Disturbing body-cam footage released Friday shows Nichols being beaten, pepper sprayed, and tasered by the cops during a traffic stop on Jan. 7. The 29-year-old, a FedEx worker and father of a four-year-old boy, died three days later in the hospital.
The five officers were fired and arrested, each charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression, in addition to second-degree murder.
The Memphis Police Department identified them as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith. They range in age from 24 to 32 and each served in the department for about 2 1/2 to five years.
The officers were sprung from the Shelby County Jail Friday after posting between $250,000 and $350,000 bail.