WASHINGTON DC — As protests rage in various states across the country, diverse voices are unanimous in condemning the brutal beating that led to the death of Tire Nichols, a 29-year-old African American man, in Memphis, Tennessee.
United States President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and deeply saddened” after seeing pictures of the beatings several police officers gave Nichols, who died days later in hospital.
Biden expected the images, released this Friday afternoon, to “shock” many Americans, but urged those “seeking justice” not to resort to violence.
“Violence is never acceptable, it is illegal and destructive,” said the President.
White House officials held calls on Friday afternoon with the mayors of 16 cities across the country ahead of possible protests this weekend after Memphis police released videos showing Nichols’ beating.
For his part, New York Mayor Eric Adams, who was on the phone, said in a video statement published on his social media that he was “devastated” by what happened to Nichols and urged city residents to to act. peaceful if you want to protest this weekend.
“If you must express anger or outrage, do so peacefully,” he said in the video.
Adams added that the city’s police department is already “fully prepared” to allow residents to exercise their right to protest.
United States Attorney General Merrick Garland promised Friday there would be an investigation into the death of Nichols at the hands of five police officers and urged that any protests over the event should be peaceful.
Five former agents are in custody facing various criminal charges for killing Nichols, who was arrested on January 7 for an alleged traffic violation.
While Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, shared a statement saying he was “heartbroken, appalled and shocked” by what had happened.
“Repeat unlawful killings taint America. The five police officers broke their oath to serve and protect their community and must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
“Tyre was a father, a son, a friend, a talented young man who was yet to live. We must honor their memory by making sure these officers are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and bring about meaningful and lasting change to build a fairer and fairer America,” he said.
The Memphis Police Department released the video on Friday. It includes footage from the police body camera and a surveillance camera on a pole.
King’s daughter Lora Dene King, who was 7 when her father Rodney King was beaten, sparking violent protests in 1991, issued a statement on Nichols’ case.
“This is extremely disgusting,” he said in the statement. “We shouldn’t have to experience such things in this world over and over again with a different name behind the hashtags. Watching these types of videos has become very disturbing. It often triggers severe beatings compared to my father’s brutal beatings in 1991 with the Los Angeles Police Department.
“It’s something I’ll never understand. I want to send grace, mercy and strength to the family of God to keep his legacy and good deeds alive. I’m glad to know that he loved skateboarding as much as my father did. I hope his family find more strength for the coming days.”