President Biden, Gov. Lee issue statements on Tyre Nichols’ death

Reaction rolled in from the nation’s leaders after word circulated that the video was being released.
President Biden, along with many of the nation's leaders, reacted to the Tyre Nichols death investigation in Memphis.
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 4:02 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2023 at 8:55 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - President Joe Biden, Gov. Bill Lee and Nashville Mayor John Cooper issued statements on Thursday about the Tyre Nichols’ death and officer arrests in Memphis.

Five former Memphis police officers were arrested on Thursday in connection with Nichols’ death.

Here’s the full statement from President Biden:

“Jill and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Tyre Nichols and the entire Memphis community. Tyre’s family deserves a swift, full, and transparent investigation into his death.

As Americans grieve, the Department of Justice conducts its investigation, and state authorities continue their work, I join Tyre’s family in calling for peaceful protest. Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable. Violence is destructive and against the law. It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice.

Public trust is the foundation of public safety and there are still too many places in America today where the bonds of trust are frayed or broken. Tyre’s death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all.

We also cannot ignore the fact that fatal encounters with law enforcement have disparately impacted Black and Brown people.

To deliver real change, we must have accountability when law enforcement officers violate their oaths, and we need to build lasting trust between law enforcement, the vast majority of whom wear the badge honorably, and the communities they are sworn to serve and protect.

That is why I called on Congress to send the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to my desk. When they didn’t, I signed an executive order that included 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.

Today, we all must re-commit ourselves to the critical work that must be done to advance meaningful reforms.”

Here’s Gov. Bill Lee’s statement:

“Cruel, criminal abuse of power will not be tolerated in the state of Tennessee. These individuals do not represent the honorable men & women of law enforcement, & they must be brought to justice for this tragic loss of life.

The City of Memphis & the Memphis Police Department need to take a hard look at the misconduct & failure that has occurred within this unit. I discussed this with Mayor Strickland & am pleased the city is pursuing an external, impartial investigation.

Maria & I are praying for Tyre Nichols’ family, & we ask that God bring peace, healing & justice to the Memphis community in these difficult days.”

Tennessee Highway Patrol Col. Matt Perry issued a statement:

“As the Colonel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, I feel that I must come forward and stand with the family of Tyre Nichols publicly. I understand the anger and hurt that the public is feeling in response to this tragedy. I feel it too. We are a community, state, and nation of laws where everyone is guaranteed the right to live their lives freely and in the pursuit of happiness. What Tyre experienced at the hands of these individuals was not, in any way, an act of law enforcement, and we must demand justice and accountability. No one can defend the acts imposed upon Tyre at the hands of those men. They are appalling and unacceptable. This was a heinous incident that we in the law enforcement profession must condemn and work tirelessly to make sure never happens to any other person. I know that Chief Davis finds the actions of these individuals reprehensible. She took swift action to terminate their employment and is fully cooperating with efforts to bring criminal charges against them. THP leadership has worked diligently over the years to ensure that our troopers are respectful, professional, and loyal to their oath to serve and protect. We are committed to continuing that mission. The Tennessee Highway Patrol stands ready to assist the city and citizens of Memphis in any way we can.”

Nashville Mayor John Cooper issued a statement on the officers’ arrest:

“The brutality and inhumane violence against Tyre Nichols is shocking and deeply upsetting. Our hearts and prayers are with his mother, Ravaughn, and his entire family as they mourn this unnecessary loss of life. When individuals who swear to protect their fellow citizens abuse that privilege, they do not deserve to be called police officers and they dishonor the brave officers doing the right thing for their neighbors every day. I applaud Memphis leaders for taking steps to deliver justice to the people responsible for this vicious act.”

Metro Nashville Police Department Chief John Drake issued a statement:

President Biden, along with many of the nation's leaders, reacted to the Tyre Nichols death investigation in Memphis.