VIDEO ADVISORY: Footage released of the traffic stop and beating of Tyre Nichols contained in our coverage may be disturbing to people. We do recommend discretion in viewing.
WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — The president, vice president and governors of Maryland and Virginia were among elected officials who issued statements after officials in Tennessee released footage of the traffic stop in Memphis that led to the death of Tyre Nichols.
Five police officers who were fired after the death of Nichols were charged with his murder on Thursday.
President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden released the following statement:
Like so many, I was outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols’ death. It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day.President Joe Biden
My heart goes out to Tyre Nichols’ family and to Americans in Memphis and across the country who are grieving this tremendously painful loss. The footage that was released this evening will leave people justifiably outraged. Those who seek justice should not to resort to violence or destruction. Violence is never acceptable; it is illegal and destructive. I join Mr. Nichols’ family in calling for peaceful protest.
I spoke with RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, Mr. Nichols’ mother and stepfather, this afternoon. There are no words to describe the heartbreak and grief of losing a beloved child and young father. Nothing can bring Mr. Nichols back to his family and the Memphis community. But Mr. and Mrs. Wells, Mr. Nichols’ son, and his whole family deserve a swift, full, and transparent investigation.
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. Real and lasting change will only come if we take action to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again. That is why I called on Congress to send the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to my desk. When Senate Republicans blocked that bill, I signed an executive order that mandated stricter use of force standards and accountability provisions for federal law enforcement, as well as measures to strengthen accountability at the state and local level.
Vice President Kamala Harris
Vice President Kamala Harris said the following:
Tyre Nichols should have made it home to his family. Yet, once again, America mourns the life of a son and father brutally cut short at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve. The footage and images released tonight will forever be seared in our memories, and they open wounds that will never fully heal.Vice President Kamala Harris
The persistent issue of police misconduct and use of excessive force in America must end now.
I join President Biden in his call for accountability and transparency. We must build trust—not fear—within our communities.
Congress must act with urgency and 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.
Maryland Governor Wes Moore
Gov. Wes Moore of Maryland said after the videos’ release on Friday:
It’s difficult not to fight back tears watching this video. The inhumanity that was shown to Tyre Nichols, a young skateboarder and amateur photographer, is intolerable by anybody, but especially by people whose job and responsibility it was to protect him. I’m thankful that the Department of Justice is engaged in this investigation, and these five individuals must be held to account for their barbarism.
I know I speak for all Marylanders as we grieve with Tyre’s family, friends, and community.Gov. Wes Moore, Maryland
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin released this statement:
The hearts of Virginians and our entire nation ache tonight as we struggle with the horrible events in Memphis and grieve for Tyre Nichols and his family. The disturbing and shocking video released this evening displays incomprehensible violence towards another human being and we must condemn these heinous actions.
As we process these agonizing events, I ask those exercising their first amendment rights to do so peacefully. We will ensure Virginians’ first amendment rights as we prioritize and protect the safety of the Commonwealth and all Virginians. We can choose to come together and not further the divide. We must strive each day to better our communities and treat one another with love and respect.
Suzanne and I are praying for the family of Tyre and for the continued safety of the Commonwealth, all Virginians and our men and women in law enforcement.Gov. Glenn Youngkin, Virginia
U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger
Shortly after 8:35 p.m., Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, who represents Virginia’s 7th District, said in a news release:
Words cannot express this horror we have all now witnessed on video — the sickening footage of the arrest, brutal beating, and horrific murder of Tyre Nichols by sworn officers of the law. We watched as Mr. Nichols was tased, pepper sprayed, and viciously beaten. We heard this young man scream out for his mother. We watched as officers did not relent for three excruciating minutes.
I’m devastated for the family of Tyre Nichols. His loved ones, residents of Memphis, and Americans across the country with questions of their own are still missing so much information. What’s needed right now is a transparent and thorough investigation.
As we demand justice for Tyre Nichols, I thank Chief Davis of the Memphis Police Department for her decisive action in terminating these officers and for her transparency throughout this investigation. I will be following closely as Shelby County District Attorney Mulroy builds his case, having just charged the five officers involved in this egregious murder. In the days and weeks ahead, I join the people of Virginia’s Seventh District and Americans across the country in expecting justice, peace, and accountability. And I pray for peace in his parents’ hearts as they grapple with the loss of their son.U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger
Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown
Anthony G. Brown, Attorney General of Maryland, said:
I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Tyre Nichols, and to the community in Memphis and beyond that knew him and mourns his passing. I also grieve for our American community, which still has so far to travel to reach the goal of justice for all.
These videos, and the horrors that they portray, have been felt here in Maryland and across the nation. Protesting injustice is a proud American tradition, and I stand with you in peaceful opposition to the violence and degradation portrayed in these videos.
As the Attorney General, I promise to uphold the ideals that all Marylanders share – that justice should not depend on race or wealth or geography, and that no person or profession is exempt from the rule of law. I promise to be present with our Maryland community while we reckon with injustice, and to listen and learn as we work together to ensure that the brutality that ended Mr. Nichols’ life will never happen again.Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares
In a tweet Friday night, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares said:
The death of Tyre Nichols is a brutal, horrific tragedy. The role of police is to serve and protect, and those officers violated their solemn oath.
Man can be so cruel toward their fellow man, forgetting we are all made in God’s Holy Image.Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares
Prince William County Police Chief Peter Newsham
After the release of the video, Chief Peter Newsham shared a lengthy message with the Prince William County community:
Dear Prince William County Community,
Despite the progress and positive changes seen across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s heartbreaking murder, we are yet again seeing the actions of law enforcement towards the community end tragically. The actions of the five Memphis police officers involved in the murder of Tyre Nichols are unconscionable. I can say on behalf of all the women and men of the Prince William County Police Department that we are frustrated and disgusted by this abhorrent and unlawful behavior. These officers do not represent the law enforcement profession, or the badge and uniform we are entrusted to wear. We are thankful the Memphis Police Department took immediate action to terminate these individuals, and that the criminal justice system moved quickly to charge each of them, but we are acutely aware that these actions will never bring Tyre back to his family. We are hopeful that these men will ultimately be held accountable for their appalling actions, and Tyre’s family will get the justice they rightfully deserve.
While we understand emotions are high, and there is anger in our hearts, we must push for continued discussions and strengthening within our community. The dedicated members of this police department are committed to protecting the rights of our residents, including the right to peacefully assemble and demonstrate. We urge our trusted voices to remain steadfast towards solutions and to discourage any violent response.
The Prince William County Police Department remains committed to our mission of professionalism through integrity, honesty, and equality for everyone while demanding accountability, transparency, and respect from ourselves. We vow to work collaboratively with you through the healing process.Prince William County Police Chief Peter Newsham
Statements from Other Officials
Frederick, Md. Mayor Michael O’Connor and Chief Jason Lando released a statement online.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office tweeted about the video, calling the actions of the police officers seen in it “reprehensible.”