The race of these officers isn’t a surprise. James Baldwin once wrote “In Harlem, Negro policemen are feared more than whites, for they have more to prove and fewer ways to prove it.” This is the result of anti-Blackness within the police system and that same disease internalizes itself in many Black officers.
Freeman was held in a section of the jail for suicidal inmates, suffering from a psychological breakdown. Instead of getting him the proper treatment he may have needed, violence was the tragic course of action these officers took.
Sadly, situations like this are commonplace in the U.S. prison industrial complex and are increasingly becoming more known to the general public. In Shelby County jails, the system where Freeman lost his life, there have been 52 deaths since 2016. This system doesn’t care about safety or rehabilitation.
Freeman’s family have been fighting for this indictment result along with the family of Tyre Nichols, another Black man killed by Black police. These are unacceptable injustices entangled in the larger issue of policing. It’s a reminder that Black police are still just police.