WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, released the following statement on behalf of the Members of the caucus, offering their deepest sympathies to the family of Tyre Nichols and addressing the Shelby County District Attorney’s decision to charge 5 former Memphis Police Department Officers with second-degree murder, aggravated assault and kidnapping, and official misconduct and oppression:
“Mr. Nichols was a beloved father, friend, and coworker, who should still be alive today. Our hearts go out to Tyre Nichols’ family on this solemn day as we mourn his loss, particularly his mother, Ms. RowVaughn Wells, as they process the deeply unfortunate, premature, and unjust loss of life.
“The Congressional Black Caucus is disturbed by the gut-wrenching allegations underlying Tyre Nichols’ brutal death at the hands of law enforcement and we must work to ensure that our legal system holds accountable police officers who, with impunity, kill too many in our communities. Although we support increased accountability, it will not bring back Mr. Nichols; we demand true justice. We will never achieve true justice for Mr. Nichols — or the countless other Black and brown people killed unjustly by police — until we dramatically reimagine public safety.
“Last Congress, the CBC led on passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act which would have accomplished this. We remain committed to finding legislative solutions to address the systemic issue arising from law enforcement engagement with all communities. We must ensure that police officers who use excessive force and act outside of their legal authority are held accountable through the criminal legal system.
“Our communities continue to cope with these devastatingly horrific and fatal acts of police brutality, with 2022 setting a historic record for deaths at the hands of law enforcement officials. While we appreciate the swift action of the Shelby County District Attorney, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Justice, we will continue to demand reform, accountability, and transparency in policing because too many Black and brown lives depend on it.
“Over three decades after the heinous beating of Rodney King, Black communities continue to bear the deadly consequences of a culture of policing that allows law enforcement officials to dehumanize, debase, and victimize individuals without consequence. As we await the release of footage from the January 7, 2023 incident, we encourage individuals to amplify their voices by exercising their First Amendment rights to assemble and express their views as the state and federal investigations into the circumstances of Mr. Nichols death proceed.”