CHICAGO — Reaction from Illinois elected officials has been swift following the release of body camera footage which shows the brutal beating of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers.
Chicago police Supt. David Brown released a statement Friday night, calling the video, in part, “extremely difficult to watch.”
“I ask everyone to honor Tyre and his family by expressing these emotions peacefully and safely as these former Memphis Police Department officers are being held accountable in the criminal justice system,” Brown added.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also addressed the video release:
“As a Black mother, I can only imagine the pain, grief, and frustration that is consuming the family of Tyre Nichols and the entire Memphis community. Make no mistake: what happened to Tyre was a horrific, unconscionable, and preventable act of violence carried out by those sworn to serve and protect. As we know all too well, tragic incidents like these not only send ripples of anguish across our country, but further erode trust between law enforcement and communities—especially those that are Black and Brown. Knowing that today’s news will reopen painful wounds for all those who loved Tyre, I urge everyone who is rightfully calling for justice to express themselves peacefully. Seeing a Black man murdered by the police will always spark feelings of outrage, pain, and despair. It’s important for us to channel those emotions into working together and ensuring that as a nation, we continue to hold our law enforcement officers to the highest standards of ethical, professional and constitutional policing. It is dismaying that these officers were young in their profession and men of color themselves. It’s clear that there is much more systemic work that must be done. In the meantime, my prayers continue to be with Tyre’s family, friends, community as well as the other residents of Memphis as they continue to cope with this unimaginable loss.”Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said Friday that Tyre Nichols “deserved the privilege of seeing his son grow up and spending his life with those who love him. He deserved to live.”
Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton lamented how the country must once again be “exposed to violent, sickening video from a traffic stop.”
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the “merciless killing of Tyre Nichols at the hands of policemen while even more officers stood by is not only devastating, it once again highlights the systemic failures in policing that we must address before we lose yet another innocent life.”
Nichols, a father to a 4-year-old, died on Jan. 10, three days after he was assaulted amid a traffic stop on Jan. 7. Five now-former Memphis Police officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith — were fired for misconduct, and indicted by a grand jury Thursday and taken into custody.
Each is charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct and official oppression.