DENVER (KDVR) — Faith leaders in Colorado are reacting to the newly released body camera video from the Memphis Police Department that shows the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols.

FOX31 spoke with Pastor Thomas Mayes and Bishop Jerry Demmer, who are calling for more reform after another traffic stop turned deadly.

In the interview, both faith leaders expressed fear because the officers involved in the Memphis incident look like them, which further blurs the lines of trust between the community and police.

‘This is what I consider inhumane’

Mayes watched the horrific video in the FOX31 studio and was in shock at what he saw.

“This is what I consider inhumane. The way they’re moving his body, just dragging him and flip him over. These officers were comfortable with killing a man. What kind of mentality is that other than animalistic?” Mayes said. “How can you feel comfortable and feel good for beating a helpless and handcuffed man, beating him to death?”

On Friday night, Mayes and Demmer came together and shared their thoughts on the deadly traffic stop. They described it as an absurd and demonic abuse of power that’s brewing in police departments nationwide.

“In order to survive, you have to take on that slave mentality again, that ‘do what I say,'” Mayes said. “‘I’m superior to you, my job is to intimidate you. It’s your job to do whatever I tell you.’ It’s sad to me that we have to train our young men to act like slaves again in order to survive.”

‘Who can we trust?’

Mayes and Demmer stated that they’re not anti-police but agree there are bad apples and there needs to be better apple-pickers. They go on to say there’s a sub-culture within law enforcement that breeds behavior of this magnitude, and no training can fix that.

“You’re talking about five Black officers beating a Black man, unmerciful. If we can’t trust Black officers, who can we trust?” Demmer questioned.

The Memphis incident, to Demmer, creates more distrust between the Black community and police due to excessive force incidents that continue to unfold.
Mayes believes the officers involved had no “self-worth” and took their own aggression and issues out against an innocent man in a barbaric way.

The five former Memphis officers were members of the SCORPION Unit, a special task force that patrols crime hot spots, which include auto theft and gang-related crimes. Demmer said the body camera video proves the gang hunters have become the gang themselves.

“This SCORPION gang all looks like me, all of them look like me. That’s real Black-on-Black crime,” Demmer said.

Both Mayes and Demmer agree that the video is heavy and a lot to digest, however, they say their work continues in the Colorado community and hope the swift charges against the five former officers set the standard for the future.