Biden calls video of Tyre Nichols video ‘horrific’ and a ‘painful reminder’ of fear Black Americans face
President Joe Biden called a video revealing the beating of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police officers “horrific” and said it was a “painful reminder” of the fear Black and Brown Americans face regularly, while calling for peaceful demonstrations.
“Like so many, I was outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols’ death,” the president said in a statement. “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.”
Memphis police released the video on Friday evening of five former officers from the department beating Nichols, who died three days later. The chief of police had warned that the video showed a violation of “basic human rights.”
“The footage that was released this evening will leave people justifiably outraged,” Mr Biden said prior to the release. “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.”
Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Mr Biden had not seen it but had been briefed on it. Mr Biden also spoke with Nichols’ mother and stepfather. The video shows Nichols calling for his mother at one point.
Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith were all charged with second-degree murder on Thursday.
Mr Biden also reiterated his call for Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which died in Congress last session.
“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,” he said. “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.”
House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries, the first Black leader of a party in Congress, denounced the video on Friday evening as well.
The brutal and violent killing of Tyre Nichols by officers sworn to protect the community is unconscionable.
Justice for Tyre Nichols must be swift and complete.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) January 28, 2023
“The brutal and violent killing of Tyre Nichols by officers sworn to protect the community is unconscionable,” he said. “Justice for Tyre Nichols must be swift and complete.”