The Tyre Nichols Tragedy                                                                                       “Behind Every Behavior is a Belief”-Dr. Larrier

The Tyre Nichols Tragedy “Behind Every Behavior is a Belief”-Dr. Larrier


The quote “behind every behavior is a belief” coined by Dr. Yvonne Larrier means that every action, interaction, behavior that a person engages in is influenced by their beliefs about themselves, the social other and life experiences. As thinking humans we all have beliefs, and our  beliefs shape our perceptions of the world, influence our decisions, impact our relationships, flavor our emotions, and drive our actions.

For example, if a person believes that honesty is the best policy, they may choose to be truthful in their interactions with others, even if it means admitting to a mistake or facing consequences. On the other hand, if someone believes that success is the most important thing, they may prioritize their own goals and interests over those of others in their interactions.


In human interactions, our beliefs can greatly impact how we treat others and can contribute to misunderstandings or conflicts. First and foremost it is important to sit with this quote, “behind every behavior is a belief” and seriously contemplate on the ways that it is true in your life.  As part of that contemplative, honest and accurate reflection, you should recognize, take stock of your behaviors and examine them by asking an uncomfortable, but necessary question of yourself, “What are my beliefs that are driving me to behave in this way?” It is important to be aware of our own beliefs and how they influence our behavior, as well as to understand and respect the beliefs of others. By doing so, we can work towards building more positive and respectful relationships with those around us.

This is a question that is missing in most standard training programs for many professions and it seems like the police systems across this country are included. What would allow five black police officers to look at another human, one that looks just like them and kill him in such an inhumane and ghastly manner?  What were their beliefs about themselves, others (Tyre Nichols and others like Tyre Nichols), and their role and position as police officers that would allow them to behave in such a manner?


Again, this quote by Dr. Larrier, “Behind every behavior is a belief” rings true in this instance of the five black police officers who killed Tyre Nichols a black male and many other unfortunate instances daily. The actions of these officers were a result of their beliefs which made them  biased, whether conscious or unconscious, about Black individuals and communities, which in this case was similar to themselves.

In this case, the beliefs of the officers likely shaped their perceptions of Tyre Nichols and informed their decision to use deadly force. Research has shown that implicit biases(beliefs), or unconscious attitudes and stereotypes, can influence the behavior of individuals, including law enforcement officers. These biases can result in the perception of Black individuals as being more threatening and dangerous, leading to the use of excessive force in certain situations.


Furthermore, the historical and contemporary systemic racism and prejudice that exists within law enforcement institutions in the USA  also contributes to the beliefs and actions of these officers. The training, climate, and culture within these institutions can reinforce biases and perpetuate discriminatory practices. This, in turn, can contribute to the use of excessive force and violence against Black individuals.

It is crucial to acknowledge the role of beliefs and biases in shaping the behavior of law enforcement officers and to address these issues through immersion training and coaching programs provided by GCSCORED that move from superficial, window dressing, fruit picking, check box sessions, activities and discussions to deep root-focused, excavatory-type uprooting, transformative, uncomfortable training and coaching sessions.  These immersive, excavatory-type sessions are not only for the police officers on the beat, but for administrators, policy makers, and check writers.  All stakeholders must be fully engaged if personal, institutional, and organizational transformation is to be attained. There must be a commitment of the will.  Individuals at every level across every segment of our societies must renew their minds and acknowledge that their beliefs need to be transformed. This will help to reduce incidents of excessive force and ensure that all individuals, regardless of their race, are treated fairly and with respect.  The death of Tyre Nichols serves as a reminder of the impact that living unconsciously has on our beliefs and eventually our  behaviors. Addressing these issues is essential in promoting fairness, justice, and equality within the criminal justice system.


The application of the quote “behind every behavior is a belief” can be beneficial for relationship management skills and cultivating healthy relationships in several ways:

Understanding motivations: By recognizing that behaviors are driven by underlying beliefs, we can gain a deeper understanding of why people act in certain ways. This can help us to be more patient and empathetic with others, even when their actions may be difficult to understand.

Improving communication: When we understand that beliefs drive behavior, we can better communicate our own beliefs and values to others, and can work to understand their beliefs as well. This can help to build trust, respect, and open-mindedness in relationships.

Resolving conflicts: By recognizing the role of beliefs in behavior, we can work to address conflicts by focusing on the underlying beliefs and values that are driving the disagreement. This can help to create solutions that address the root of the conflict and build more positive and lasting relationships.

Building empathy: By recognizing that everyone’s beliefs and behaviors are shaped by their own experiences and perspectives, we can build empathy and compassion for others. This can help us to develop more positive and supportive relationships, even when our beliefs may differ.

Overall, the application of the quote “behind every behavior is a belief” can help individuals to develop greater self- awareness and understanding of their own beliefs and those of others, leading to more effective communication, conflict resolution, and building of healthy relationships.

This blog was written by: Dr. Yvonne Larrier of GCSCORED, Inc.

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