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Michael Moore [00:00:01] Hello, this is Rumble with Michael Moore. Today, we’re going to discuss the execution of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee. Before we get to that, maybe I should address why the photograph at the top of my podcast page here on my Substack, why this picture? What does this have to do with Memphis, Tennessee? The picture — you may have seen it before, it’s probably one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. It was 55 years ago this week that the police chief of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, took a prisoner of war, a Vietcong officer actually. Vietcong was the guerrilla army force of the South Vietnamese who were helped by the North Vietnamese Army during the Vietnam War to defeat first the French and then the Americans. But on this particular day in 1968, February, the chief of police decided — with cameras present — he pulled this prisoner out into the middle of the street, the police chief holding his handgun to the side of the head and essentially blew this man’s brains out. The police chief, his name was General Nguyen Ngoc Loan. He was a general also in the Army, but he was also the police chief because essentially South Vietnam was a police state supported by the United States of America. And this young man who was executed and lost his life, his name was Nguyen Van Lem.
[00:01:41] When I first watched this, it was not of a still photograph in Life Magazine or many places — it won the Pulitzer Prize that year, you know, “woo hoo!” — but I saw it while eating dinner in February of 1968. I always wanted to watch the 6:30 national news. Dinner was usually around 5:00 or 5:30 in the afternoon. But for some reason on this particular night, we were all having a late dinner at the dinner table around 6:30 and on came this news report. An NBC News camera was there and caught it in living color, showed the whole thing, pulling Nguyen Van Lem out into the street, the police chief firing his gun into the side of his head. The bullet comes out the other side, and he falls like a rag doll onto the street, instantly dead. And out of the hole in his head is a geyser of blood shooting straight up, gushing out — and the cameras are running the whole time. As a 13-year-old, I’m sitting there with my two sisters and my parents watching this.
[00:02:59] This was back before the Pentagon wised up and never allowed things like this to happen again, where the American people would actually see the death and destruction that they were paying for with their tax dollars and with the lives of their young soldiers. They made sure that in wars after this, that we instigated and invaded countries and whatever, that the American people would not be a witness to… In Vietnam, I mean, nightly — this was the nightly news and it was nightly. And you saw American soldiers die on camera, shot and killed in battle. And you saw stuff like this. And you saw a young, I don’t know, was she nine? Nine-year-old girl, after we napalmed her village which burned the skin off her, and she’s running down that road completely naked because the clothes and the skin had been burned off her. You know, that’s what we watched at dinnertime. And this also is what turned a lot of the country against the war. They couldn’t take this anymore. Couldn’t take these images. You couldn’t look away from it. And they knew that in future wars, they must never allow the media, the press, to do its job like this, and tell the whole truth. Because, well, where are we going to get support for these wars? Because most people, including most Americans, are repulsed by this. They don’t want to see it. They don’t want to be part of it. They don’t want to pay for it. They don’t want to lose any more of their soldiers. Couldn’t have that. A police chief executing an officer in the Vietcong army while we were eating my mother’s meat loaf. And so I thought because this was, this week, the 55th anniversary of this particular police execution, and because we are still known for police executions, I would begin our little introduction here with this.
[00:05:18] You don’t like the word execution? Well, that’s what it was, my friends. And of course the media, a month later, after Tyre Nichols was executed by the Memphis police, we still have not seen an accurate headline. Forget about the story — the story is still filled with so many lies, so much information being withheld from us. Some people are not going to want to hear this. I’m going to call it out. I’m going to call out the police chief of Memphis, Tennessee. I know a lot of you think that she’s done a great thing and she has done some things that look good. She fired the cops that murdered Tyre. And the white liberal prosecutor has charged them with second degree murder. So, you know, everybody’s like, “hurrah.” And yes, of course, that should happen every time this happens. But this police chief is still covering up. She’s not telling the truth. The prosecutor is covering up. He’s not telling the truth. And I’m sorry if this goes against, you know, how a lot of you want to feel that there are some good heroes in this story. Well, there aren’t. If they’re going to be any good heroes, it’s going to have to be you. All of you and me. And everybody else.
[00:06:53] You know, I’ve spent about a good chunk of the last week here working on today’s podcast, writing, researching, thinking, trying to sort it all out. It’s something that’s very important to me. It’s a little bit longer than a usual podcast, it’s going to be about probably close to an hour, but stay with me here. I think you’ll appreciate it. And you’re going to learn some things that the media is not telling you about — not just this police execution in Memphis, but so much else that is going on that we’ve got to take care of when it comes to this issue of law enforcement. Anyways, first, let me just do this. Let me first of all, thank and show some of our immense gratitude to those who help fund our work. It’s much appreciated.
[00:07:35] Our first underwriter for today’s podcast is a longtime supporter of Rumble with Michael Moore and it’s Shopify. Shopify, as you know by now, is the Commerce platform that’s revolutionizing millions of businesses worldwide — small businesses, nonprofits. Shopify was instrumental in helping me launch my online shop, The Moore Store, where a portion of every sale goes towards the issues that I care about: bringing back civics classes to our public schools and ending voter suppression. Whatever your dream shop looks like, Shopify can help you get off the ground. They offer in-person POS systems for brick and mortar stores and an all in one e-commerce platform for online shops like mine. Shopify even lets you sell across social media marketplaces like TikTok, Facebook and Instagram. So if you’re looking to start your own store, sign up for a $1 per month trial period at Shopify.com/rumble and make sure “rumble” is in all lowercase. If you do that, if you go to Shopify.com/rumble, you can take your own little thing that you’ve got going in your basement, in your dining room, in the store that you run down the street — can take your business to the next level today. Shopify.com/rumble, “rumble” in small case.
[00:08:56] A huge thank you to another longtime Rumble supporter, Moink. Moink is a meat subscription service that delivers grass fed beef and lamb, pastured pork and chicken and wild caught Alaskan salmon direct to your door. And all of it is sourced from independent American family farms. Now, I know that not all Rumble listeners eat meat, but for those of you that do, if you’re like me, you want to know where your meat is coming from and how the animals are treated. And I know that you will love Moink. Their animals are raised outdoors. Their fish swim wild in the ocean, and Moink meat is free of antibiotics, hormones, sugar and all the other junk you so often find in prepackaged foods in the meat aisle of the supermarket. So if you want to help family farms stay financially independent from big agriculture, I ask you to please join the Moink movement today. Go to moinkbox.com/rumble right now and you, my listeners, will get a free filet mignon for a year. Every time you get a box from Moink, there’s a free filet in there. That’s one year of the best filet mignon you’ll ever taste, but this offers only for a limited time. So moinkbox.com/rumble. Support them for supporting us. Moinkbox.com/rumble.
[00:10:28] And finally, this episode of Rumble is also brought to you by BetterHelp online therapy. It’s no secret that when life gets overwhelming, that it helps to talk to someone about it. If you’re thinking of giving therapy a try, BetterHelp is a great option. It’s convenient. It’s flexible, affordable, and entirely online. When you sign up, you just fill out a brief questionnaire and they will match you with a licensed therapist. And if it’s not a good fit, you can switch therapists any time for no additional charge. So if you want to live a more empowered life, therapy can help get you there. Visit BetterHelp, all one word, betterhelp.com/rumble. Do it today and you’ll get 10% off your first month. That’s betterhelp.com/rumble. And thank you BetterHelp for supporting this podcast and supporting my voice.
[00:11:30] Time for a little N.W.A. I think —
[ MUSIC: “F*k Da Police” — N.W.A. ]
Michael Moore [00:12:10] That was the great classic song from N.W.A., one of the great rap and hip hop groups of all time. F**k the police. And Ice Cube laid it right out there in that one verse. The black cops, they’re just doing their best to show off to the white cops that they can be just as evil and brutal. Over a week ago, I sat in my white skin in my living room, watching the series of Memphis police videos of their vicious execution of photographer and father to a little four-year-old boy, 29-year-old Tyre Nichols. That’s right, the headline could have read, “Police Execute Memphis Photographer.” We still have not seen an accurate headline. “Elite Memphis Police Unit Known For Its Criminal Brutality, Executes Innocent, Law-Abiding, Disabled, Fed Ex Worker On His Break On His Way To Have Dinner With His Mother.” That’s the headline. But they don’t do that, do they? Not when the victim of this is black or brown. Trust me, if it was an incredible white photographer from Memphis, that’s how it would have read. Or, “Memphis Police Execute Father Of Four-Year-Old.” Humanizes them too much, doesn’t it? Yeah. Don’t want to do that. Don’t ever want to see the people of color, of any kind of pigmentation in their skin that isn’t white. Because if you actually, actually start feeling an ounce of humanity toward them — what would happen? Well I’ll tell you what would happen. They know what would happen. That’s why in the five days leading up to showing those videos, like every white leader in the country went on TV to beg America not to burn the country down when these videos are going to be released on Friday. Remember that? It started on Monday where law enforcement across the country started organizing themselves — police chiefs in Zoom meetings, private quiet Zoom meetings with each other, telling each other, “Look, a number of us have seen these videos, this is not going to go well. And black neighborhoods, black citizens, are going to respond in a way where we’re going to see our cities burn unless we get out in front of this.” And they met each day that week leading up to the release of the videos. And by Wednesday and Thursday, you had President Biden on TV begging people to be calm, to be peaceful. Now none of us had seen anything yet. Merrick Garland, our Attorney General, he goes on TV begging America — when I say “America,” of course he’s begging the poor and the black communities — to not riot. Because they know, they know, of course people are going to riot when they see this brutality because they would. If they were in the shoes of black America and brown America, what would they do? So they knew they had to get out in front of it.
[00:16:12] And the police chief who had been hired to say, “We’re going to change things here in Memphis because there was so much brutality with the Memphis police force,” – she went on. And then black leaders, they got black leaders across the country, not all of them, but they got enough black leaders to go on TV again, in the 48 hours leading up to the release of these videos, to beg, beg the black community, “Please don’t burn it down.” Weren’t you thinking when you’re watching any of this, “Wow, how awful must these videos be?”.
[00:16:50] Well, I sat there at 7:00. I sat there and I watched them. I don’t believe in turning away. I know how hard it is to unsee things that once you see the horror of something. I remember we were making Fahrenheit 9/11 and we watched the raw tapes of people leaping out of the windows of the World Trade Center. And not so much the leaping and the falling nearly 100 stories, but when they hit the street, when they hit the overhang of the building, when they hit the sidewalk and the — I don’t know, is there a word for this? I mean, “splat”? No. Well, I don’t want to get into… See even just thinking about it now just gives me the… Because we watched these in the edit room and then we couldn’t unwatch it. And it was then I decided that we’re not going to do what others have done when they showed the planes going into the towers. We’re going to — the screen’s going to go black for over a minute, and we’re just going to listen to the sound, the sound of people screaming, crying, shouting, running, and the sound of the “splat” of human beings falling 70 stories, 100 stories, onto the street below. Yeah.
[00:18:30] What were we going to see? Why were they all on TV a week or so ago warning us? Warning us. Because as I’m watching it, as I’m watching these four videos they’ve released, I notice after a few minutes there were no tears in my eyes. I’m like, “What’s that about?” It’s not just that I’m white. You know, I have no problem tearing up at tragedy and horror and injustice and all this stuff that just we have to live with, and it seems like won’t ever end. But I was numb. Why are you numb? Oh, you’re numb because you’re being lied to. As a filmmaker, you know this. Just ask any documentary filmmaker. You know what’s going on here: they’re using documentary nonfiction footage, quote, “nonfiction footage” to actually… They’ve built this thing up that we were going to like come apart at the seams once we saw the video. And yes, of course, the video is God awful. But they did it in such a way to where they — wow, did they hire psychiatrists or psychologists for this? Because they knew exactly how to show it to us so that we wouldn’t come completely unglued. And let me explain what I mean here. And again, now I’m wearing my filmmaker hat, not my horrified citizens hat.
[00:20:16] Let’s start with this… So there’s three videos, three are body cam, police body cam videos, and the fourth is what they call the “Sky Cop,” the camera up in the sky on the light pole. That one has no sound. The three body cameras, police body cameras, have sound. Now when they fired and arrested the five who are now being charged with second degree murder, well first of all, right away, you can see that there were more than five there. During both sections of the execution, there were more than five. There were more than just cops. You couldn’t even tell who the cops were because half of them were in street clothes, they were undercover cops driving unmarked vehicles. No wonder Tyre Nichols must have been wondering, “What has happened — who are these people? Why are they doing this?” Because a lot of them didn’t look like cops because they weren’t wearing a uniform. And they just pulled up in their Chevy or their Toyota — just a regular car. Well, let me tell you something. Did you notice that in the bodycam footage from the three cops, that it was not the cops doing the beating? You see him being pulled out of the car on one of the cameras, you see, they’re trying to tase him, there’s pepper spraying going on. But in the actual beating that took place, those are cops — where’s their body cameras? Why didn’t we see that footage? Why didn’t we see the footage of the cop kicking his head? Or the cops who were pummeling his head? Or the cop with the baton breaking it on his back in his arms — where’s that footage? You know, if we were in the edit room making a film, we’d say, “Why do I have only camera, you know, four, five and six? Where’s camera one, two and three?”.
[00:22:20] And by the way, they made sure to show you what we call the “raw footage.” In other words, when you see something that we make in an edit room, in a movie, in a documentary, it’s nonfiction, it’s actual footage, no actors, but before you see it, we color correct it, what’s called color correction. You know, we make the image clear for you. We can also what’s called “punch in” — ironically “punch in” — we can bring it closer. So if it’s a faraway shot like the Sky Cop camera that’s up on the pole, we can make that larger. They didn’t do any of that. They purposely did not fix the footage so that it would be clear and crisp, because they didn’t want you or I to see what they had really done. You get the gist of it, obviously, with the punching and the kicking, but had they done what you do with video footage so that its audience can actually discern what’s going on — well, they weren’t going to do that. If you noticed, if you remember, at one point in that Sky Cop cam, the camera suddenly moved. It moved, it tilted and it zoomed in, trying to get a little closer look — not too close. So somebody — I’m guessing again, I don’t know, but — was somebody back at police headquarters or wherever the room is, where they have the hundreds of cameras that are all around Memphis? Cameras that have been set up to keep track of us. Little did they think that the cameras would be there to keep track of the police and their behavior. I’m not a fan of living in a society that has all of us on surveillance. I don’t think that’s a good idea. I think there’s other ways to fight crime, solve crime, most of all prevent crime. I’ll talk about that in a second.
[00:24:25] So anyways, here’s what I want to also add to this and to the police chief of Memphis, Cerelyn Davis. Chief Davis, you have not shown us all the footage. We need to see the body cam footage from the cops who did the majority of the beating. I want to see the cop’s camera. The cop who was using his steel-toed shoe to kick Tyre Nichols head like it was a football over and over, smashing his skull. I want you to show us that. Don’t pretty it up for us or don’t leave it in its raw state so we can’t really see what’s going on. I want to see his footage. I want to see the cop with the baton’s footage. I want to see the cop who was using Tyre’s head like a punching bag. They’re in the middle of killing him, there’s film of it — the people have a right to see this. And I also want to say to you, Chief Davis, while you have instituted progressive reforms, you were the police chief of Durham, North Carolina, before this. And you did some good things there. You testified in the U.S. Senate. You were wanting to get rid of this immunity the police have so that they can’t be sued. In Durham, you brought down the number of armed police doing traffic stops. In enlightened countries and in some enlightened cities in this country, they’ve stopped doing that. They’ve seen how risky it is to have a man with a gun — usually a man — come up to the window of a car, of a citizen. What could go wrong?
[00:26:18] And yet on some of the footage that we have seen, we see when they pull him over — first of all, we don’t see any chase because it doesn’t appear there was a chase because he wasn’t trying to get away from the police. He pulls over. But the video that we see starts with the cop in the car behind the cop who’s pulled him over. And the cop yanks the door opens and yanks him out of the front seat. Has anybody listening to me here right now — have you ever been pulled over by the police? I’ve been pulled over, right? You know, you were going ten miles over the speed limit, you were weaving, maybe you’d been drinking, and you get pulled over. The police officer comes up to the window. You roll the window down. What are the first words you hear? “License and registration, please.” Right? “License and registration.” That didn’t happen to Tyre, did it? He pulls the door open and yanks him right out. And then they start fighting him. They get him down on the ground. They’re screaming at him, “Get down on the ground.” He’s already on the ground. He’s asking them, “What did I do?” They don’t tell him.
[00:27:35] You know, many cops are good. I can’t say the word “most” anymore, but I know a lot of police officers and I worked with them. I worked through them when we’re out filming and they’re good. They’re good and they’re decent and they’re kind and they care about the citizens that they’re protecting. They put their lives on the line every day to do this. I hope everybody is satisfied that I’ve made it clear that we’re not talking about all cops. But this cop goes up, doesn’t say anything, doesn’t ask for license, doesn’t ask for registration, doesn’t tell him what he’s doing. Again, if you’ve been pulled over, doesn’t the cop say to you, “Sir, you know, you were going, you know, 50 miles over the speed limit there,” or “you ran the red light,” or “you didn’t turn your blinker on,” or whatever, right? They say something.
[00:28:31] Nothing is said. He’s asking them, “What did I do?” He’s polite the whole time. He doesn’t swear at them. He doesn’t drop F-bombs on them. “Give us your hands.” They’ve got his hands in their hands. The New York Times, they did a list. They watched the 13 minutes that they had him, where they were holding him. In those 13 minutes, they gave 71 or 72 contradictory orders to him — telling him one thing when he was trying to do it, and already had done it, telling him to get on the ground when he was already there. “Give us your hands,” but they already had his hands and they are trying to put the cuffs on him. And I mean, he’s scared for his life at this moment. And maybe as white people, we don’t get this. Maybe some of you listening to me don’t get this. But if you’ve got a bunch of big, you know, beefy guys in the middle of the night — it’s dark out — they’re not wearing police uniforms, some of them, they’re not in police cruisers. They’ve yanked you out. They’ve not asked for your license or registration. They’ve not told you what you’ve done. You aren’t sure who they are. They start to tase you, they pepper spray you. And you’re thinking, “I’m going to die. They’re going to kill me.” Whoever these guys are, whatever this is, his instinct told him he was going to die.
[00:30:01] And by the way, let’s also point out, this is a 140lb young man. And it’s taken three or four of them, they’re trying to — they don’t know what they want to do. They pepper spray each other, the cops. They pepper spray each other. It look like the Keystone cops. It looked like they didn’t know what they were doing or how to do it or how to get the handcuffs on him. It would tell me that, “Oh, my God, these aren’t cops. Something else is going on here.” And he realized on his break from work at FedEx — by the way, Memphis is the world headquarters of Federal Express. He works for them. He works second shift. He’s on his dinner break and he’s driving to his mother’s in this somewhat suburban-like neighborhood of Memphis because she’s made him his favorite dish, his sesame chicken dish. And he realizes, while the cops are pepper spraying each other and they’re screaming, “My eyes are burning — give me some water,” he bolts. He gets up and he gets away from them to save his life. He knew he was going to die. Well, I don’t know if I would have known that. I don’t know if I was a witness to this I would have known it.
[00:31:25] And by the way, speaking of witnesses, Chief Davis, there’s other cameras, not just the body cams on the cops. There were people driving by. There are people in the houses on both sides of the street. Somebody got out their cell phone and turned the camera on. You probably already have some of that footage. You have the footage up and down the street that he was supposedly, as they lied later saying he was recklessly driving. And you, Chief Davis, made it clear to us that he was not recklessly driving. There’s no footage of it. You’d already checked all the cameras up and down the street. No reckless driving. This common thing that white people, people in general maybe, people who think, “Well, this would never happen to me. Well, he must have done something. What was he doing? Why was he running?” He’s running to save his life. He’s screaming his mother’s name. And then when they caught him, just about three houses down from his mother’s house, they tackle them and they start the brutal beating, you know, all these cops, other cops, are standing around watching this, doing nothing, not stopping it. Other cops show up in their cars. I couldn’t really count with the footage that they’ve shown us how many cops were there, but there were at least ten other cops, not just the five or six that they’ve arrested now. There were at least another ten, maybe a dozen, maybe two dozen. I don’t know, because then the EMTs were showing up and the fire department was showing up and nobody was helping them. First, nobody stopped the brutal beating, and then they just left him there, slumped against the car for 20, 25 minutes. How could you do that? What kind of human are you? What was going on here? And the cops are all standing around and you hear them on their body camera footage talking to each other. But they’re at like some backyard dinner or some brunch or some I don’t know what they’re just like, you know, some mixer, they’re just standing around, “Yeah, yeah, he tried to get my gun!” “You know, he tried to get my gun too!” And you’re thinking, “Oh, you’re just saying this because you know the camera’s on.” “Yeah. Yeah. No, no, he, I think he was trying to grab my pepper spray.” This just goes on. They’re making shit up. “He’s high. I think he’s high.” Really? You know who I think was high? You guys. Because no supervisor’s present, no sergeant, nobody is there. They’re all just doing their own thing. Wilding — isn’t that what it’s called? Huh? Yeah. Right. Sick.
[00:34:49] None of these cops were given a breathalyzer afterwards. None of them were given a drug test. Why not? Why not? Because you know what it looks like to me? Some of them were pretty hyped up. Were they on meth? What were they on? Because they had no clue that they were police officers following the book. I mean, what does it take to forget to say “license and registration”? What does it take to forget to say “you were doing X and this is why I pulled you over.” None of that. Just, “Let’s get at it, boys. Let’s get out the tasers and the pepper spray and the batons. Oh, there he goes. How did he get away from us?” Yeah, how does a 140lb guy get away from these big brutes? What were you on, guys? Chief Davis, what were they on? What had they taken? What happened here? Why don’t you tell us the whole story? Because this looked like one messed up, effed up situation here. And if none of them, none of the dozen or two dozen or how many of your employees showed up and watched this and were there for the aftermath and did nothing? To have no humanity, to have no conscience or to not be at least wired into your conscience or to not be worried and thinking about the fact, “Oh, this is all on film. We better do something about it. Holy shit!” No. So how detached from reality do you have to be that night in the Scorpion unit? Wasn’t just the Scorpion unit there. There were other units that showed up. What other names? What are the names of the units, Chief Davis? What are the names of these dozen or two dozen cops and EMTs and fire department and other city people? Who are they? We want their names. We want their badge numbers. That’s right. You haven’t told us. You’ve told us a select number of things that make it look like you’re a good cop. You’re a good chief. But you didn’t at first, — you knew this probably the day after this happened, if not that night. The cover up began immediately and were probably you were hoping against hope, you know, that he’s just some punk kid, some black young person in Memphis, and no one’s going to be asking about him. Except thank God for the activists in Memphis who learned about it and immediately started talking about it and trying to get the media to cover it. Trying to get somebody to do something. And eventually, I don’t know how many days later they’re able to connect with Benjamin Crump. They’re able to connect with Reverend Al. Otherwise, we’d never know about it any of this. And it makes you wonder how many nights, how many times, not just in Memphis, but all across this country that this happens.
[00:38:00] It turns out, Chief Davis, now that we know that when you were a police officer in Atlanta, you oversaw the Red Dog unit. And the Red Dog unit did the same thing that the Scorpion unit did. You started the Scorpion unit when you came to Memphis after knowing and seeing what happened in Atlanta with the Red Dog unit — a unit that had to be disbanded, that had so many lawsuits against it, the city paying out millions of dollars in damages to the brutality that your unit that you oversaw in Atlanta did during those years. I’m just going to pull up something from one of the papers here that was posting the last week just so people understand what you and the Red Dog Unit did down in Atlanta. All right, the article is talking now about her unit back in Atlanta. “The unit had about 30 officers and a mission to flood areas of high crime in Atlanta with overwhelming force. Patrolling in groups of four or five, the officers were notorious for ambushing young men, yanking down their pants in public, and performing full body cavity searches” — full body cavity searches — “in a hunt for drugs, but also in an attempt to spread fear. According to a review of the lawsuits, police officer affidavits and civilian review board memos, as well as interviews with plaintiffs lawyers and former Atlanta police oversight officials. One officer told the oversight board” — his name was Stallone Davis — “that he joined the Red Dog unit around 2007. And he said, ‘members of our Red Dog unit were told to just get the job done by whatever means.'”.
[00:40:09] Well, they got disbanded in Atlanta. But then she starts the Scorpion unit when she arrives in Memphis. What is a Scorpion? Isn’t that a spider that kills? Yeah, isn’t that right? There’s poison in the tail. I don’t know. I’m just remembering my little bit of 10th grade biology here. But the scorpion, the scorpion isn’t out patrolling, looking to kill. It’s got the poison tail to protect itself. It’s there for defense. These units are offensive units placed in black and brown communities to terrify, to terrorize these communities.
[00:40:55] We need all their names. We need to know who they are. Journalists need to be able to investigate just how God awful things got in Memphis. We’re not being told the whole story, my friends. We’re not being shown all the footage. We’ve not been told how the coverup initially began in the days after his beating. Finally we got the police report from that night, the report that those cops, the killer cops, filled out when they went back to the station. Virtually every line in this report contains a lie. It is one lie after another. They don’t describe really what happened. What you see in the video is not described in the police report. Lie after lie after lie. They are liars. And it’s not just those five or six. So many police are professional liars. And I hate to say that, but I hate living in a country that allows this to happen. In fact, all journalists — there should be a code that says anything that you’re being told by the CEO of a company, by a pharmaceutical company representative, you know, there’s a list of people that you pretty much should start assuming they are not telling you the truth. And if they are, they have to prove that they’re telling the truth. That goes for the police. I’m sorry. You can’t tell me anymore, “there’s just a few bad apples.” That’s a lie, too. There are not a few bad apples, there are thousands of bad apples in this country who are cops. Or if you disagree with that, then let’s just assume that there’s just a few bad apples there in Memphis and you know what? They just all happened to be scheduled on the same Saturday night shift. They just were all happy to be there for this beating and killing of 140lb young man. By the way, He’s 6’2″, 6’3″. He’s tall, but he only weighs 104lbs. To weight 140lbs at that height, that should tell you right away — if you’re not hyped up on meth or whatever — that this doesn’t look right. This looks like a sickly kid. Because he was a sickly kid. He had Crohn’s disease. If you are there to protect and serve, if you do understand the society you live in, when you see somebody that tall, that only weighs 140lbs, a light goes off in your head — if the head a sober. A light goes off and says, “Something’s not right here. The kid’s not — he’s got some problem. Something not right.” Because there was something not right. “Just a few bad apples there in Memphis. They just all happened to end up on the same shift that night.” “No, no, it’s a good police force. We got thousands of great cops. There’s five or six bad apples.” Stop it. I don’t want to hear this anymore. There are not five or six bad apples. There’s hundreds. Depending on the size of your city, there’s thousands.
[00:44:26] And you know who hates the “bad apples” the most? The good cops. The good and decent cops who are not criminals, who did not join the police force to become part of an organized criminal gang. They hate them because the “bad apples,” they sully the uniform of that city’s police department. And if you’re a good cop and you wear that uniform, you go out every day with the public who is a witness, especially in the poor sections of town, they are witness to the evil that is done to them by the people who wear that uniform. And then you are judged that way when you shouldn’t be judged that way because you actually are there to protect and to help people.
[00:45:10] Who are the other victims of the Scorpion unit and the other units that she formed there in Memphis? Who are they? There’s got to be more, you know that. There was awful brutality before she arrived. But this happened on your watch, Chief Davis. We want to see all the footage. We want to see it, be able to see it, hear it all, the audio, everything. Everything you’ve got has to be shared with the public. Otherwise, you’re just part of the same lying machine. You’ve just gussied yourself up to look a little better because you did some decent and right things like firing them and then the prosecutor charging them with second degree murder. President Biden knew, Attorney General Garland knew, the FBI chief — they all knew. They were so worried. And you know what? They, we — we are lucky that it hasn’t been burned down. In fact, it makes you wonder sometimes when you see the true level of the brutality, if we were able to see all the video of all this police behavior, you’d have to wonder — and I’m talking really to you, white people, right now — you really have to wonder, how have we as a society gotten away with this? How have we gotten away with this kind of absolute, vicious, savage brutality and not had a rebellion from those communities? We should be thanking our lucky stars. Wow.
[00:46:59] Don’t you want this to stand? I want it to stop. I want all of us to feel that every time there’s a kick in the head, a punch to the face, a baton to the back, to the spine of our fellow human being, I want us to feel that we’re the ones being beaten. We’re the ones being pulled over. And every time you drive by and you see the cops pulling somebody over, especially in a poor or black part of town, the first thought in your head should be, “Oh my God, they’ve pulled over somebody who’s done nothing.” It doesn’t mean that there aren’t people committing crimes, but now I think you’ve got to air on the side of “something is awfully wrong here.” And we should start calling 911, call 911 and report, “The police have pulled over this kid. And they look like they’re going batshit crazy on him.” If we turn the other way, if we don’t do or say anything, then we are one of those cops. Every one of those cops who stood around needs to be arrested, needs to be fired from the force and needs to pay a penalty to the society that they disrespected. Us. In our name with our tax dollars doing what they do.
[00:48:26] How many more times does this have to happen before we start to fix things? Real fixes, not reform. I mean, a real — turn this thing around, turn it upside down, create something new. We need a community safety department. Yes, the people need to be protected from those who do bad things, especially when they hurt other human beings. But we’re asking the people who believe that it’s okay to hurt other human beings to put this together. So that’s why it’s never going to happen. We have got to change this. We need to decarceration our society. We need to end this mass incarceration of black and brown people. We need to demilitarize the police. The Pentagon’s got to stop selling used equipment to the police forces around the country. We need to stop the dehumanization. Because I think the only way you could kick a kid’s head in like it’s a football is if you didn’t believe he was a human being. Or you’ve come to believe that you’re not really human. Are we really born and raised and wired to behave this way?
[00:49:44] What if the police department — what if it was mostly an all-female force? What they look like? Again, believe me, we know that, you know, there are women that you would not want with a gun or a baton in their hands. I don’t want to be pulled over and find out it’s Marjorie Taylor Greene tapping her flashlight or gun on my window. But generally, just think about it for a second, though. What if most of the force were women? Would we see the level of violence that we’ve been witness to? I don’t think so. I don’t think so. Come on, admit it.
[00:50:36] You know, some of these towns, like I mentioned before, they no longer allow the police to do traffic pullovers. If they’ve got somebody speeding, somebody’s got a tail light out, somebody’s got a bad muffler, every cop car now has a camera on the windshield — take a friggin picture or video of it with the license plate and send them a ticket. Or have a community relations person visit them to say, “Hey, we just wanted to help.” There are a few cities in this country that if you are pulled over or you’re given a citation for something not working right, rearview mirror is gone, they hand you a voucher for a local car repair place to take your car to to get a new rearview mirror, to get a new muffler, to get a new tail light. Isn’t that the human thing to do? I think most people that are driving around with things that are wrong with their cars, you know, most people, if you have a good job and you’re making money, you know, most people want to get that fixed for their own safety. What if we did that? Instead of handing a ticket, we had a voucher to say, “Hey, go get this fixed.”.
[00:51:56] Want to reduce crime? Here’s an idea. How about a good job with a great wage for everyone? Yeah, that’s right. We as a society will do our best to guarantee that everybody who can work wants to work, has a great job, and is paid a great wage. What would happen? What would happen if the person living next door to you or the people in your neighborhood make, you know, depending on where you live, make $60 – $70,000 a year. What are the chances they’re going to say, break into your house and steal your TV? Your computer? None, right? I mean, yes, there’s kleptomaniacs, but seriously. Why not reduce crime by creating a better society where the need for crime is eliminated because people are able to survive and function and have a decent life, have what we promised in our Declaration of Independence, the pursuit of happiness? What would be so wrong about that?
[00:53:14] And yes, there need to be mental health units. They need to be making a lot of these calls to help people who need help. We don’t have enough mental health workers. Even those who work — some people who work mental health are not the right people, they’re not prepared. But what if we really worked on the system and did that? What if we redefined what we mean when we say the word “crime” or “criminal”? What if the real job of those who are “to protect and serve” are to protect us from the white collar criminals who steal from us, who don’t pay their taxes, who dump poison into our rivers? What if we went after them? What if they were arrested? What if they had to pay their debt to society? We need to reboot. We need to reboot here when we think about law enforcement, when we think about public safety, community safety. We need to pivot and we need to have complete honesty and transparency from the people that we’re paying so that we can have this decent community that we live in. We need great schools. Our kids all should be going to great schools. If you saw my movie Where to Invade Next in Finland, the Minister of Education, she explains to me how they don’t really have private schools. They’re not allowed actually in Finland so that the rich could send their kids to a better school. She said there are no “better schools,” all our schools are better because when the rich kids have to go to the public schools — funny how that works — the parents are really concerned and want to make sure their kids get a great education. And I said to her, “So that they can maybe get into the Harvard of Finland, whatever that is.” She says, “Well, we have 19 universities in Finland and they’re all Harvard.” I said, “Oh, come on.” “No, seriously, our standards and we work very hard on this to make sure no matter what university you go to, you’re going to the best of the best. Every neighborhood school is a great school.” And if you look at any of the the worldwide surveys they take on where students are in terms of how well they do, how much they know, Finland is always at the top, scoring first or second place. We need strong public libraries and we need parks and greenspace and gyms and sports fields and pools and the people, the kids need to have fun. Wouldn’t all of this work toward creating a better, safer community if this is the way we all lived?
[00:55:59] I mean, I’ve thrown out a lot of quick ideas that may sound simple to a lot of people, but, you know, this is already being done in some cities in this country. It’s certainly being done in countries around the world. Wouldn’t you like to know how they’ve succeeded in having less crime, in having better educated citizens, in having peaceful neighborhoods where people love to live, jobs that they loved to go to?
[00:56:30] You know, the Mississippi River, what we call sort of the spine of our country. It starts up in Minnesota, north of Minneapolis, and goes all the way to New Orleans and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River, the connection between George Floyd’s murder and Tyre Nichols’s murder. George Floyd is killed just blocks, just a few miles, from the Mississippi there in Minneapolis. Tyre Nichols is killed just a few miles from the Mississippi River that flows through Memphis. I started thinking about this the other day. It’s like “the great Mississippi.” Yeah? What’s so great about it? It seems to weave and wind its way through a lot of violence and American tragedy. Martin Luther King assassinated in Memphis. Michael Brown executed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, Saint Louis, Mississippi River. I’m not — don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming the Mississippi, I’m just saying you could probably take anything in this country and show the violent connections of how both the police operate and how Americans operate. In one place after another. This is not who we want to be, right? Am I right in saying that? The largest mass execution organized and supported by the government in the United States took place in Minnesota, about an hour from the Mississippi River. Back in 1862, a court and juries sentenced 303 Dakota Indians, native peoples, to be hung, to be executed. 303. Because they had an uprising. The Dakota people, wanting their freedom, rose up, and all of a sudden they’re going to hang 303 of them. They’re going to build a big, big stage in the middle of this town and literally have 303 Indians hanging from the rope. Lincoln had only been president for about a year or so, the Civil War had already started, and he heard about this and he said, “There’s no way — with all the violence and everything going on right now in this war, we’re not going to hang 303 Indians.” You know, his adviser said, “Well, sir, you know, this was done in a court of law, was all legit. They rose up against us and some of them killed people, white people. They killed white people.” And then Lincoln goes, “Okay, well, give me the files of those who we can prove actually killed white people.” And they gave him the files. And so Lincoln said, “Okay, just so we can find a compromise here,” because he knew that, you know, he couldn’t just pardon all 303 Indians, which, of course, would have been the moral thing to do, so he decides to pardon most of them. But 38 of them, he says, “okay, you can go ahead and hang them.” And so one day in 1862, the government of the state of Minnesota, a state that would one day execute George Floyd, they hung 38 Indians, Dakota Indians, all at once on a massive stage platform outdoors in the town square. 38 Native Americans — each of them swinging from their own rope. And thousands of white people showed up to watch it, to cheer it on, it was a big party, people brought little picnic lunches. Sick. Start up there in Minnesota, the Mississippi, take it down to New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina. Black people left to die. Hundreds left to die. You know the images. You saw it. If you were alive, then you know what I’m talking about. George Bush was so afraid of it that they didn’t land the plane. He just flew over and looked out the window. Wow. And of course, the Mississippi makes its way through all the former slave states, all the brutality, all the criminality of this country, a country that was founded on the genocide of its native peoples, and built on the backs of enslaved human beings — our two original sins. This is who we are. And if we turn away from this again, then we’re the same as everyone of those cops and fire department people, and whoever showed up there in Memphis on the night of January 7th when they turned away. They let it happen. Are we any better than them if we continue to let this happen? I say no. And I won’t be part of it. We’re all going to have to do something. We’re not going to stop talking or doing things about this.
[01:01:53] You know, whenever I visit Memphis, I’ve been there a number of times, either for filming purposes or on a book tour or a tour with one of my films, whenever I’ve been there, I always try to go by one or both of these places. One is the Lorraine Motel, which is now the National Civil Rights Museum, the place where Martin Luther King was assassinated. And then I go to the Masons temple where he gave his final sermon, his final speech the night before he was killed, where he talked about that he’d been to the mountaintop and he’d seen over it and he’d seen that we are going to be a better people, that we are going to fix these things. So he wasn’t afraid to die he said “because I know this is all going to work out.” And the next day, he’s killed at 39 year old. When I go there, I just go in quietly. I go and I sit in the back pew. Sometimes if I’m with my crew, I ask if anybody wants to come with me, they can come. I just sit there in silence for 10, 15, 20 minutes thinking. Thinking about all this. Thinking about all the things you guys think about. And knowing that we can be better, knowing that we don’t have a choice, that we have to be better. Memphis, a great, great city. One of our great black cities in this country, a city that’s given us so much of our culture, our great music.
[01:03:35] Thanks for listening to this today and thank you for whatever you’re doing to try to make things better in your communities and try and stop this vicious, violent, racist behavior. It’s a lot of work to do. It’s not all about the cops either. It’s you, Governor DeSantis, prohibiting high schools from having AP African-American history classes. And now this week, the College Board decided to pull back and they’ve restructured the whole — for those who do teach these African-American history classes — they’ve removed a lot of African-American writers, a lot of black heroes that are not to be taught anymore, because the 21st century white supremacists that are elected to office have put enough pressure on them so that this doesn’t happen anymore. So we don’t talk about slavery in schools, we don’t talk about American racism. They’re hoping if we don’t talk about it, it’ll just kind of go away, and their white privilege will be allowed to continue. Well, not on my watch. And I know not on yours either. And that gives me hope.
[01:04:57] This is Michael Moore. Thanks to my producer and editor Angela Vargos and to all of you who participate in this. Many thanks. I’ll talk to you soon.
[ MUSIC: “Walking In Memphis” — Marc Cohn ]