As videos of five Memphis Police officers murdering 29-year-old Tyre Nichols go viral across America, several national organizations have gone on the record in condemning this horrific police killing and are calling for meaningful change.
In Atlanta, The King Center said the following: “The King Center mourns the death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police. We mourn with his family as they witnessed, via video, the brutal, dehumanizing beating that caused his death after a simple traffic stop.
“Time and time again, our nation reckons with radicalized police violence towards predominantly Black and Brown people. This traumatizing reality must be confronted and changed.
“Human beings deserve to be treated with respect, including by police officers who wield weapons and can inhumanely weaponize their positions.
“Even as Nichols was fighting for his life, the officers and first responders ignored the clear signs indicating that he needed medical assistance. This reprehensible behavior took his dignity and subsequently his life.
“This is a deeply rooted cultural and systemic issue that cannot be solved by good thoughts and well-wishes. We must employ a Beloved Community Mindset to transform, and, in some cases, deconstruct, these unjust systems that continue to devastate families and communities.
“We call for justice, which is a component of true peace. Justice not only includes accountability for the officers who beat and killed Nichols but must also entail accountability for the system which consistently perpetuates this violence.”
The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) said: “In this nation, a routine traffic stop should not be a death sentence, but tragically that was the case for Tyre Nichols. As a Black man and a Mayor, my heart aches for the Memphis community as they seek healing, answers, and accountability from those charged to protect not harm them,” said AAMA President and Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. “We are heartened by the swift termination and arrest of the officers involved, but that’s not enough. We join with the family of Mr. Nichols and the people of Memphis in calling for a transparent and just investigation to ease their understandable pain and restore public trust.”
“With the public release of footage showing the violent beating of Tyre Nichols, AAMA continues to push for meaningful reforms to prevent police brutality by any officer and rebuild faith in those called to serve our communities. Further, we call for peaceful protests as we continue to work towards what Dr. King called the moral arc of justice.”
Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown, Co-Founders of Black Voters Matter and April England-Albright, Legal Director of Black Voters Matter issued this: “Tonight, we witnessed the brutal beating and murder of 29-year old Tyre Nichols at the hands of the Memphis Police Department. Tyre should be here today like countless others who lost their lives to police violence and its destructive impact. Our hearts go out to the family of Tyre Nichols and we stand in solidarity with all those who fight against police brutality.
“Since the inception of this country, the brutal torture and murder of Black people has been put on display and more normalized. More recently, every year additional names become a viral hashtag, and another family and community mourns the loss of a loved one.
“Tyre’s family and community members have called for several actions, including naming all officers and public personnel who were on the scene, disbanding aggressive task forces such as the SCORPION Unit which murdered Tyre, and passing police accountability ordinances.
“Charging the individuals who murdered Tyre is a step in the right direction, but more than individuals, an entire system is GUILTY AND MUST BE ABOLISHED.”
The JUST Georgia organization released this: “JUST Georgia joins the nation in sending our love and solidarity to the people of Memphis as the nation will see the appalling and inhumane violence of the traffic stop that led to the death of Tyre Nichols. There is no excuse for this blatant disregard for life. We are also holding in this moment the reality that, regardless of the race of the police officer, policing is an inherently violent system that turns even routine traffic stops into brutal encounters, especially for Black people.
“Atlanta and Memphis are both cities that have always contributed to Black-led resistance against systemic racism and state violence. The movement to oppose Cop City in Atlanta is evidence of this important work. It is grounded in the demand to pour resources into communities harmed by systems, rather than constructing additional monuments and facilities to fuel efforts that bolster state violence.
“The killing of Manuel “Tortugita” Teran in Atlanta is a tragedy illustrating the danger of policies that place protecting the private sector over meeting the needs of the community and correcting the generational harms and impacts of militarization. Additionally, it further illustrates the slippery slope this country is on toward squelching dissent and dismantling democracy. Our leaders in this, the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement, especially those who purport to stand in the legacy of Dr. King, must recognize the use of force to end protest as an intolerable violence.
“We support the demands from movement on the ground that address the undue power granted to the state in our communities. We acknowledge that the trauma experienced by Tyre Nichols will be multiplied by those forced to witness his brutal killing. Our struggles may be local, but our demands are universal:
“We call for investments in the well-being and safety of our communities that do not center policing and promote state-sanctioned violence.
“We call for transparent, independent investigations of law enforcement misconduct.
“We call for the rejection and repeal of policies and practices that criminalize Black and Brown communities.
“We call for the end to systemic racism and state-sanctioned violence.”
The National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) issued the following statement: “NLADA joins our diverse community of civil legal aid providers, public defenders, and client community advocates in voicing our collective outrage at the ongoing loss of Black lives through the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers.
“The footage and information released today have made us all witness to the horrifying and cruel taking of Mr. Nichols’s life, and we stand with his family, friends, and community to grieve their loss. Furthermore, the recordings and additional details confirm our longstanding belief that we must address the underlying societal views, structures, and indoctrination that perpetuate and normalize disparate, violent, and deadly treatment of people of color. The inhumane treatment of those like Mr. Nichols, who are being arrested or accused, is a part of a deeply entrenched problem with our criminal legal system.
“Mr. Nichols’s death reminds us that we must continue to advance equity and justice for those who come into contact with the criminal system, and how far we still have to go. The NLADA community is committed to addressing the significant systemic role that race plays in policing practices and to building enduring alliances with impacted communities. Public defense, civil legal aid, and client community advocates will continue to partner together and with others to combat the injustices ingrained in our systems.”
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said: “Tyre Nichols should be alive today, riding on his skateboard. Instead, his family and friends are mourning his violent death. His life mattered. Black lives matter. Tonight, I am praying for his family and friends to find peace, and for Tyre’s memory to be a blessing.
“The protection of and respect for human life should be the fundamental principle that guides all American policing—but, once again, that responsibility has been cast aside in the most craven and excruciating way imaginable.
“We should call on our better angels and demand the world that we deserve: one free of moments like this. Just as we marched for Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and the many others who have died unjustly at the hands of the police, we call for justice today. We will not stop organizing until the change our nation is demanding is realized.”
32BJ SEIU President Manny Pastreich summed it up this way: “The vicious police murder of Tyre Nichols is horrific and heartbreaking. The officers’ conduct in the video is barbaric and their brutality is overwhelming. We absolutely cannot tolerate these actions or make excuses for them, or be so weak and afraid of confronting police violence that we sweep another deadly abuse under the rug. Being strong in this moment means acknowledging the root causes. Standing up in this moment means demanding justice. Bringing a better tomorrow means facing down the evils of today. We must refuse the coward’s way out of burying our head in the sand and changing the subject from the video released by Memphis Police. For the sake of Tyre Nichols, his family and the cause of justice, we cannot look away.”