Biden Issues Statement Following Release Of Tyre Nichols Footage

The White House issued a statement from President Joe Biden last night following the release of video footage of the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols by five former Memphis police officers.
(screen capture via Memphis Police Dept footage)

The White House issued a statement from President Joe Biden last night following the release of video footage of the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols by five former Memphis police officers.

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.

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.

Like many who’ve viewed the footage, I’m stunned and outraged by what I saw. Among the many questions I have is: What led these five men to launch the horrific assault? And why did not one of them step in at some point to stop it?

Nichols was allegedly stopped at a traffic intersection for “reckless driving,” which the Memphis Police department says they can find no justification of. Additionally, there was no traffic accident or dangerous incident that would have resulted from said “reckless driving.”

By the time the police officers caught up to Nichols (just three houses down from his mother’s house), he was on foot. There was no danger from “reckless driving.” Once they caught him, he was compliant. But the officers continued to kick and beat him, hold his arms while dousing him with pepper spray, and more.

The five officers all weigh over 200 lbs according to their booking information. Nichols reportedly weighed about 145. Why did the officers go on, and on, and on? Were they just mad he’d resisted in the first place?

And why did the two medics not attend to Nichols injuries for several minutes after they arrived? What was in the mix that they didn’t do their duty?

An autopsy report later found that he “suffered excessive bleeding caused by a severe beating.”

I’m not smart enough to figure this out, but I’m human in my response to the video.

I appreciate that the Memphis Police Department moved swiftly in terminating the five officers employment, doing due diligence in their investigation, and charging the former cops with second degree murder. In light of the video we’ve all seen, it’s obvious why the MPD viewed this incident with the gravity it deserves.