Reactions pour in after MPD officer indictments in Tyre Nichols case

  • In US
  • 2023-01-26 21:30:14Z
  • By The Commercial Appeal
Tyre Deandre Nichols, 29, died Tuesday, Jan.
Tyre Deandre Nichols, 29, died Tuesday, Jan.  

The death of Tyre Nichols on Jan. 10, three days after being stopped by Memphis Police in an incident that is under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, has led to the firing, arrests and indictments of five Memphis Police Officers.

Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn "C.J." Davis said in a YouTube video released late Wednesday night that more officers are under investigation as well, though she did not specify how many. The FBI is also conducting an investigation into potential civil rights violations.

Five Memphis Police offers were fired for their involvement in the traffic stop just under a week ago. All five have been booked at the Shelby County Jail and indicted.

As of Thursday afternoon, "Tyre Nichols," trended on Twitter, sitting at number three under the trending tab.

Family and friends of Nichols, attorneys, politicians and the nation all reacted to the indictments. Here are some of the reactions:

Politicians and attorneys

Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, the attorneys for the Nichols' family, in a written statement: "The news today from Memphis officials that these five officers are being held criminally accountable for their deadly and brutal actions gives us hope as we continue to push for justice for Tyre. This young man lost his life in a particularly disgusting manner that points to the desperate need for change and reform to ensure this violence stops occurring during low-threat procedures, like in this case, a traffic stop. This tragedy meets the absolute definition of a needless and unnecessary death. Tyre's loved ones' lives were forever changed when he was beaten to death, and we will keep saying his name until justice is served."

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen spoke on the House floor: "Right now, much of the national media is looking at Memphis as there was an awful killing of a 29-year-old African American man by five police officers within the last few weeks. The five police officers have been fired by the Police Department for violating their oaths…It could be a situation where people want to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest actions of the Police Department, and people should. But they should be peaceful and calm. We have a new D.A. We have a new U.S. Attorney. And we have a new Police Director. They are the right people at the right time to bring about reform and to deal with this case to see that justice is rendered. I grieve for the life of Tyre Nichols, whose life should not have been extinguished. He was an outstanding young man and it's extremely sad that he was killed. I pray for my city."

Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Raumesh Akbari in a written statement: "While I applaud the swift action of the district attorney, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Memphis Police Department, there is no justice for Tyre Nichols today. Justice would be Tyre living to see his next birthday. Justice is people in this community having trust that our police officers will first police themselves. No one should fear for their life during a simple traffic stop or be afraid to even engage with our officers. So instead, today we begin the long act of healing our hurting community, Tyre's mother and family, and ourselves. We cannot move forward together unless we are willing to do the work to hold our police department to the highest ethical standards and uproot any existence or acceptance of police brutality. This is our call to action and we must be vigilant."

Sen. London Lamar, chairwoman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, in a written statement: "Like many of us, I feel traumatized by Tyre Nichols' death and I am disturbed by the actions of the officers who were involved. While today we send our heartfelt condolences to the Nichols family, tomorrow we work toward achieving continuous accountability for law enforcement. This may be the most egregious act of police brutality in our nation's history. It shows exactly how much work we have to do to build trust between our people and the officers who pledge to serve and protect our community. Accountability for the officers involved in Tyre's death is the first step. The next step is for law enforcement, state and federal officials, and local leaders to investigate why this happened. We have to fix the root causes of police brutality and then do the work to make sure it never happens again."

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson in a texted statement: "While seeing our justice system at work with the charging of the five officers involved in the death of #TyreNichols, we must continue to keep the family of Tyre Nichols lifted in prayer. These are the beginning stages of what will be a long and arduous journey for them and for our city. There is no good that can come out of this tragic situation. Unless there is a way to bring Tyre back, justice is limited to what it is supposed to do an that is find, try and convict those responsible for taking the life of Tyre."

Former County Commissioner Tami Sawyer in a Twitter thread: "#TyreNichols is not a singular occurrence in Memphis. Please don't go back to business as usual just because the officers were charged. We still pay Connor Schilling's pension even though he murdered Darrius Stewart. MPD has resisted meaningful reform and will continue to do so. [New tweet] MPD has resisted meaningful reform and will continue to do so unless we collectively demand it. They over recruit and under train. They're putting new officers on the street with the swiftness of an Amazon or FedEx and training as worthwhile as a bitcoin at 7-11. [New tweet] These are the first officers ever charged in Memphis in recent memory for abuse or death and if Tyre hadn't died and just been hurt they probably would have gotten away with it. Like they did with Martavius Banks. Because he lived, they walked and out HIM in jail when he healed."

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris in a Twitter post: "I grieve with the family of Tyre Nichols. This family lost their beloved son too soon. As a community, I know we can confront prejudice and work together to build a more just an humane system. While the investigation into Mr. Nichols' death continues, I support the release of the video as soon as possible."

Religious Leaders

Senior pastor of Mississippi Boulevard and leader of the Black Clergy Collaborative of Memphis Rev. Jason Turner in a written statement: "Today's indictment against five Memphis police officers involved in the beating death of Tyre Nichols is also an indictment against the systemic injustice and abuse of power still rampant throughout the United States criminal justice system. Tragically, Tyre is now its face. But it has thousands of faces in thousands of communities across this country. The color of the officers who've been indicted is beside the point. They must be held accountable as must any person and any system that would abuse marginalized people. We must demand policy changes nationwide that finally pull systemic injustice out by the roots. We will start today in Memphis. Today can mark the beginning of the Second Civil Rights Movement: beyond individual equality to systemic equality. We demand a system that manifests justice for all, not the privileged few. In Tyre's name, systemic justice is what we must demand and fight for - each day going forward until we overcome."

Entertainers & Activist

Actress and activist Lisa Raye in a Facebook post on an article on the release of the footage: " Can't believe this happened! We'll see the TRUTH soon!"

Civil rights activist Shaun King in a Facebook post: "2 things that are all true at the same time. ⁣1. All 5 of these men deserved to be fired and charged with the murder of Tyre Nichols. What they did, you will soon see, is about as awful as anything you could ever see. It's that horrible. They beat a man to death. And refused to provide any aid whatsoever when they knew what they did to him. ⁣2. They were fired and charged at lightning speed not just because they are Black, but because the the City of Memphis literally just voted in a brand new DA who promised he would hold police accountable and the city council just chose a new police chief who pledged the same thing when she was hired. ⁣It's super easy to conclude that they were ONLY fired and charged so quickly because they were Black. It might play a role, but the bigger role is the new police chief and DA."

 Attorney, writer, political commentator and The Nation justice correspondent Elie Mystal in a Twitter thread: "This Memphis video of the lynching of Tyre Nichols must be awful. Basically, everybody who has seen it is like 'Please don't riot when you see this like you probably should.' I've never seen a reaction like that. [New Tweet] I feel like people who are *surprised* that the cops who did this are black are about to learn a part of 'the Talk' that my parents at least always emphasized: The race of a cop is 'cop.' *Never* be under the illusion that a Black cop is less likely to brutalize you or kill you. [New Tweet] My interaction with Black cops have always been as potentially fraught as my interaction with white ones. At no point does "help a brother out" work. Because if they were really trying to 'help' me, they wouldn't have stopped me in the first place."

Law Enforcement

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation tweeted a statement by TBI Director David Rausch: "First- and most importantly- on behalf of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, I want to extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Tyre Nichols. We can't imagine the pain you're experiencing, but let me reaffirm: We are here to pursue truth and justice, realizing that we should not be here. Simply put, this shouldn't have happened.I've been in policing for more than 30 years. I've devoted my life to this profession and I'm grieved- and frankly, I'm sickened- by what we've learned through our extensive investigation. I've seen the video, and you will, too. In a word, it's appalling. Let me be clear: What happened here does not, at all, reflect proper policing. This was wrong. This was a crime.The depth and breadth of the charges announced today speaks to the deliberate and thorough investigation this case has received. And our work is not finished. We continue to purse every lead. Justice demands it. And our agency exists so 'that guilt shall not escape, nor innocence suffer.'To that end, I want to publicly thank our agents, forensic scientists, support staff, and our entire tea- across the state- who worked diligently to expedite this case. We've worked as hard as we could- and as quickly as we could- to provide a thorough, independent, and unbiased investigative record to allow DA Mulroy to make the most informed decision he could regarding charges. I also want to thank the Memphis Police Department and city leaders for their cooperation in this case, which- I want to stress- remains ongoing at this time."

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Reaction to indictments of MPD officers involved in Tyre Nichols' traffic stop


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