As the investigations into the death of Tyre Nichols continue, police across the country are speaking out against the actions of five, now former, Memphis police officers. Statements range from official releases by major police associations to ongoing social media posts and comments by officers of all ranks, from all geographic regions of the country.
In some cases, departments band together to speak out against what happened in Memphis. Such is the case in Boulder, CO, where five police departments along with the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office came together to issue a statement condemning the actions of the former Memphis officers.
“As public servants dedicated to protecting human life, seeking the truth and pursuing justice under the law, we are sickened and disheartened by the actions of the five Memphis police officers and two fire medics involved in the death of Tyre Nichols after a traffic stop earlier this month,” the Boulder statement says. “The officers were fired for violating policies that our agencies have in place and hold dear, including those governing excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid. We condemn these officers’ actions and continue our ongoing commitment to training our officers in de-escalation, communication, and ensuring the sanctity of human life is at the core of every interaction.”
On the broader national stage, both the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Fraternal Order of Police have voiced disdain for the behavior of the Memphis officers and an assurance that these heinous actions are not representative of the profession.
“The brutality suffered by Mr. Nichols and the failure of any of these individuals to intervene is sickening and leaves everyone, including police officers, disgusted, infuriated, and outraged,” says the IACP statement. “The individuals involved have rightly been fired and criminally charged in the death of Tyre Nichols. There is no excuse for their actions. They have betrayed their oath of office, disgraced the law enforcement profession, and brought shame on the officers across the nation who work selflessly each day to protect their communities.”
The National Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement that it was “infuriated” by the Memphis officers’ assault of Nichols.
“The event...does not constitute legitimate police work or a traffic stop gone wrong,” National FOP President Patrick Yoes says. “This is a criminal assault under the pretext of law.”
Yoes labels how none of the officers acted to stop the attack on Nichols as “sickening.”
“This criminal encounter should not and does not define the brave men and women of the Memphis Police Department or the more than 800,000 officers who keep our country and communities safe from the kind of violence that occurred in this incident,” Yoes adds.
The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) President Brenda Gross Andrews, says, “First and foremost, it is the position of NOBLE that everyone deserves to be treated as a human being and we all must respect the sanctity of life. Law enforcement executives must continue to train officers and hold them accountable to a standard that values human life.”
“While this is a horrific incident, we are encouraged by the swift action of the Memphis Police Department and other law enforcement authorities to address the actions of the officers involved in the form of terminations and indictments,” she adds.
What Chiefs Say
Even individual law enforcement leaders and many chiefs are turning to social media to condemn the actions of the five officers in Memphis.
One chief in Texas calls the death of Nichols at the hands of the former officers “shocking, disgusting, and appalling.” That chief suggests law enforcement needs to look into practices, policies, and police culture to make sure such misuse of authority never happens again.
A chief in New Jersey said the footage of the incident was “both heartbreaking and infuriating.”
In North Carolina, a police chief in a statement says the death of Nichols is “deeply upsetting” and the actions of those officers are “inconsistent with the training, practices, professional standards, and core values of the law enforcement profession.”
A chief in Arizona points out “one of the core principles of policing is respecting the sanctity of life” and says the actions of officers in Memphis go against the principle, culture, training, and values instilled in law enforcement officers.
In Iowa, a police chief reminds that one of the keys for law enforcement is building a foundation of trust with the public, adding that “everyone must be treated with dignity and respect.”
“This is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual. This incident was heinous, reckless, and inhumane,” says Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis.