It happened again. Another Black man died needlessly and violently at the hands of police. The scene of the latest atrocity was Memphis, Tennessee – and it was caught on video.

Now, in a country where such footage often depicts white police officers brutalizing, and sometimes killing, unarmed Black people, many Americans are grappling with the reality that Black police officers can mete out the same kind of grotesque violence against Black people – possibly because of their own anti-Black biases.

The story of race, societal bias, their impact on policing and the trauma these things engender is long and complex. But Rashad Shabazz, a scholar of African American studies at Arizona State University, tackles it head-on.

“Our surprise that five Black police officers could brutalize another Black man indicates we have an impoverished understanding of race and racism in this country,” he writes.

Also today:

Lorna Grisby

Senior Politics & Society Editor

Demonstrators block traffic in Memphis after police released video footage depicting the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols. Scott Olson/Getty Images News via Getty Images

Black police officers aren’t colorblind – they’re infected by the same anti-Black bias as American society and police in general

Rashad Shabazz, Arizona State University

Black police officers can have bias against Black people – and act on it.

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