‘A despicable act of violence’: Utah Department of Public Safety, NAACP issue statement on Tyre Nichols’ death

Tyre Nichols, 29, died after being pulled over by Memphis police officers earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Crump/Instagram

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 27, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Department of Public Safety and local NAACP officials issued a statement Friday on the death of Tyre Nichols, calling it “a despicable act of violence and inhumanity” by the five fired Memphis police officers charged with his murder.

Nichols, 29, died in the hospital three days after a Jan. 7 traffic stop and beating from police officers that family members say left him with sustained kidney failure and brain swelling. The five former police officers were arrested and charged with his murder Thursday.

In a “message of unity of all of our communities” the Utah Department of Public Safety and the Salt Lake chapter of the NAACP called Nichols’ death “a despicable act of violence and inhumanity done by the same people who were sworn to protect the people they serve.”

Utah DPS was among law enforcement agencies condemning the officers’ actions in advance of the expected release Friday evening of police video of the incident.

“We hope that the people of Utah know our law enforcement leaders work hard to protect all citizens’ rights, life, and liberty. We remain committed to respecting the preservation of every human life,” the statement says.

“Our state will continue to work with local law enforcement, our legislative partners, advocate groups, and the community to create a safe and trusting environment where our officers exercise their profession while proudly providing the utmost protection as public servants.”

The statement also notes that the “brutality suffered by Mr. Nichols leaves everyone, including law enforcement officers, disgusted, infuriated, and outraged. There are no excuses for the officers’ great disregard for human life.”

“As law enforcement officers, we take an oath to protect, not harm,” Utah DPS Commissioner Jess Anderson said in a news release. “I extend my deepest condolences to his family, friends, and the community for this great loss.”

Jeanetta Williams, president of the NAACP Salt Lake chapter, said the five former officers being charged with Nichols’ death “is one step forward in the right direction.”

“This heinous act of violence towards a young man who was stopped for what should have been a civil conversation for a traffic infraction is far from acceptable. The total disregard for human life is heartbreaking, and I stand with Tyre [Nichols’] family and our community in the mourning of this young man’s life,” Williams said.


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