President Biden said he was “outraged” by video released Friday night showing police officers beating Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, and he called for those upset by the footage to protest peacefully.
“Like so many, I was outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols’ death,” Biden said in a statement released shortly after the video was made public. “It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day.”
Biden earlier Friday spoke with RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, Nichols’ mother and stepfather, to express his condolences and offer admiration for their courage.
Nichols died a few days after he was beaten by police after a traffic stop on Jan. 10.
Over the course of the video, officers pepper-spray, deploy a stun gun and beat Nichols.
Video of the arrest was taken from polecam, SkyCop and police body camera footage.
The five police officers were fired from the department last week. On Thursday, they were charged with second-degree murder and other offenses.
“My heart goes out to Tyre Nichols’ family and to Americans in Memphis and across the country who are grieving this tremendously painful loss,” Biden said. “The footage that was released this evening will leave people justifiably outraged. Those who seek justice should not to resort to violence or destruction. Violence is never acceptable; it is illegal and destructive. I join Mr. Nichols’ family in calling for peaceful protest.”
Biden said Nichols’ family deserves a “swift, full, and transparent investigation,” and he reiterated his calls for Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would enact reforms to try and curb racial profiling and tie federal aid to officer conduct.
White House officials held a call earlier Friday with mayors from 16 major cities to discuss preparations for possible protests after the footage was released and outline how the federal government could assist.