ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Malik Evans and Free the People Roc released statements Friday night in response to the release of video showing the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee.
Nichols, 29, died three days after the January 7 traffic stop. Body camera footage and surveillance footage released Friday shows his repeated beating at the hands of Memphis police.
“We are all outraged by the depravity captured on this footage, and pray that our city’s response to these images will be peaceful and productive,” Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said in a statement released Friday evening.
Five officers —Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith— were fired and charged with murder, assault, kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression.
Statement from Free the People Roc
We find ourselves enraged and traumatized by the endless news of lives lost to police brutality. Like many of those killed by police, Tyre Nichols posed no threat to the community.
Tyre’s murder forces us to revisit the police killings of Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Daunte Wright, and Patrick Lyoya, reminding us of how often routine traffic stops become deadly for Black people. A review of national police violence data shows that US Police have killed nearly 600 people in traffic stops since 2017, with 2022 reaching a record high of at least 1,176 police killings.
Yet calls for systemic change across the country continue to be met with surface level reforms that do very little to protect Black and brown people. Diversity hires and “community policing” models like those implemented in Memphis and in our own City of Rochester, do not stop police from brutalizing community members. The officers who murdered Tyre Nichols are five Black officers: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith. They are part of a system that normalizes harm and the devaluation of human life. Until that system is completely uprooted, police will continue to kill us.
We mourn with Tyre’s family and send our deepest condolences to all his loved ones. Tyre’s life was precious. Tyre Nichols should be alive today.
Statement from Rochester Mayor Malik Evans and Police Chief David Smith
We are shocked and horrified by the Body Worn Camera footage released today of the brutal beating and alleged murder of a 29-year-old Black man by five Memphis police officers.
Our prayers are with the family of Tyre Nichols and the people of Memphis. But they are also with the people of Rochester – as always. We are all outraged by the depravity captured on this footage, and pray that our city’s response to these images will be peaceful and productive.
This Administration and the Rochester Police Department are working tirelessly to establish a higher level of trust between our officers and community because we recognize that trust is a vital component of the peace we are working so hard to achieve.
Statement from Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter
The death of Tyre Nichols is inhumane. The pain his family is feeling will continue to endure for a lifetime. I am heartbroken for the Nichols family. There was no humanity or compassion shown for this man. Mr. Nichols died a horrible death at the hands of those who took an oath to protect him.
We in law enforcement must be bold enough to call out criminality, even when it occurs in our profession. What happened in Memphis is not consistent with the mission of policing. We can do better. We must do better.
After what our country has been through, some of those in uniform are still willing to continue these deplorable actions. I am disgusted. Those going out to protect our community are disgusted.
Humanity and professionalism is the expectation.
Statement from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
“Tyre Nichols’ death is outrageous and horrifying, and I am grateful that the officers responsible were quickly charged with his murder. I am praying for Tyre’s mother, son, family and friends, along with the Memphis community and our country. More must be done at every level of government to eliminate violence and brutality from our criminal justice system and to change the circumstances that make such atrocities possible.”