Reactions pour in following release of videos showing Tyre Nichols’ assault
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Reactions are pouring in following the newly-released videos depicting Tyre Nichols’ arrest prior to his consequential death on Jan. 10.
The City of Memphis released the much-anticipated video of the arrest and assault of Tyre Nichols this evening.
Memphis Police Association broke its silence and issued the following statement Friday night:
Leaders from around the country have responded, lamenting what they have seen, and calling for justice for Tyre.
President Joe Biden released a statement shortly after the video was released stating that he was “Outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols’ death.”
He spoke with Tyre’s parents Friday afternoon and conveyed his condolences and echoes their calls for peaceful protest. “We must do everything in our power to ensure our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all.”
Vice President Kamala Harris released a statement saying she joins President Biden in his call for accountability and transparency.
“The footage and images released tonight will forever be seared in our memories, and they open wounds that will never fully heal,” Harris said.
She, along with President Biden and other federal leaders Friday night, encouraged Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. “To truly honor Tyre Nichols’ memory, and the memory of so many others before him, we must demand that our justice system lives up to its name,” she said.
Congressman Steve Cohen had a private screening of the footage upon his return to Memphis from Washington, D.C., just before it was made public Friday night.
In a statement, Cohen described the footage as “overwhelming to watch.”
“It’s clear that Tyre Nichols died because of the brutality and callous disregard, really an appalling lack of humanity, of the Memphis police officers,” he said. “From the first encounter with the police, it’s clear this was about ego. There was no respect for Tyre Nichols and no answer to his simple question asking what he’d done.”
Cohen remarked on a portion of Tyre’s first interaction with police, in which one of the officers is heard saying, “let’s give him a stomping.”
“That showed the mentality, and the other officers seem to embrace it and then go to it,” he said.
Senator Marsha Blackburn said the footage was “difficult to watch,” adding that her office has been in contact with the Department of Justice in an effort to work with federal and local officials.
“I am confident the Memphis Police Department and State of Tennessee will conduct a thorough investigation. Chuck and I are praying for the loved ones of Tyre Nichols and for peace in Memphis and across our state,” Blackburn said.
Congresswoman Nanci Pelosi offered condolences to Nichols’ family, remarking on how justice “must be done.”
“We must reform policing,” she said. “The House must, again, pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act — and this time, the Senate must advance it to the President.”
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, “The effort to separate the officers who murdered Tyre Nichols from the system of policing that produced them is palpable.”
She also stated that police killings in the U.S. have reached a record high in 2022, a claim sourced from data by Mapping Police Violence.
Martin Luther King III, civil rights activist and the oldest son of Martin Luther King Jr., said he was “deeply disturbed” by the videos, yet it is “perversely familiar.”
The President & CEO of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson, reacted, “No person should ever be subjected to such violence, to have to call for their mother as they are being brutalized by police.”
He asked, “how much more bloodshed will it take before Congress acts?”
He commended the speed with which the officers involved were charged, but says, “that is far from enough to ensure justice for Tyre.”
Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner, who spoke earlier today at a press conference with the city leaders calling for peace, offered once again his heartfelt condolences. “I am a second-generation law enforcement officer, and I am troubled by what we all saw.” He promised to do “everything in his power to prevent another parent from having to bury their child in such a tragic and senseless way.”
We have heard many times from Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy this week as he echoed the family’s calls for peaceful protest. His statement this evening explains the reason the footage was released “because it was important to the community and to Tyre’s family, as they want the world to be their witness and feel their pain.”
He further promises to continue seeking justice for Tyre.
Just over the bridge, West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon also shared his grief over the release Friday night.
“As Mayor, I’m literally crying and heartbroken! My prayers go to Tyre’s family. Please pray for police officers who serve the right way. This underlining hatred we have for one another must to end!”
Memphis City Councilman J.B Smiley Jr. expressed that the culture needs to put an end to excessive force.
“The officer who tased Tyre Nichols and who compelled the other officers to stomp him must be fired. We must put an end to the culture that allows excessive force and assumes it is commonplace.”
The Memphis Grizzlies, who are away tonight playing the Minnesota Timberwolves, held a moment of silence before the game to honor Tyre’s memory.
“It’s been tough, being on the road,” said head coach Taylor Jenkins. “I wish I could extend my arms through this camera right now to the family. They’re going through a lot.”
They released a statement earlier today offering their “deepest sympathies and condolences.”
Much like Friday night in Minnesota, a moment of silence was held before the game to honor Tyre Nichols. The face of the franchise, Ja Morant said he couldn’t even make it through the entire video and had strong thoughts on what he watched post-game Sunday night.
Morant also said the most important thing is for the city of Memphis to come together for Tyre’s family.
Memphis native and pop music superstar Justin Timberlake also voiced solidarity for his community back home. “I’m heartbroken and angry to see another family, another community hurting due to police brutality. I stand with my hometown and the people of Memphis as we demand justice and accountability,” he said.
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