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Bloomington-Normal NAACP and police chiefs condemn 'abominable' killing of Tyre Nichols

Protesters gather in Lafayette Park outside the White House in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, over the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police.
Andrew Harnik
/
AP
Protesters gather in Lafayette Park outside the White House in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, over the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police.

Bloomington-Normal's police chiefs and Black leaders are responding to the police beating of Tyre Nichols, as cities across the country prepare for the public's response to the brutal incident.

Nichols, a 29-year-old father and FedEx worker, was pulled over on Jan. 7 for what police said was reckless driving. After trying to flee on foot, Nichols was severely beaten by police. He died in a hospital three days later.

In the videos released by the City of Memphis, officers are shown aggressively dragging Nichols from his car, shouting profanities throughout the encounter. They deploy a Taser at him, and chase him on foot. Later, officers are seen beating and kicking Nichols as he lies on the ground. At times, he is screaming, and appears to call out "Mom."

All five officers have since been fired, and are facing charges of second-degree murder, assault and kidnapping. State and federal authorities are also investigating the officers.

"The preliminary reports of the police officers’ indictment for kidnapping and murder are disturbing and concerning," said Linda Foster, president of the Bloomington-Normal branch of the NAACP. "The NAACP adamantly rebukes police brutality, no matter the officers’ race, creed or color.”

Added NAACP 1st Vice President Dr. Carla Campbell-Jackson: "As the world prepares to brace for yet another incident of police brutality against an African American male, we must not remain oblivious to the fact that total disregard for humankind is wreaking havoc throughout the African American community. We must never tolerate police officers’ blatant disregard for the sanctity of life, regardless of the officers’ race. Law enforcement’s adherence to the NAACP’s Ten Principles would have possibly prevented Nichol’s tragic death."

Bloomington Police Chief Jamal Simington issued a statement Friday night, after the video footage was released:

"As the Bloomington Chief of Police, and a 32-year member of the law enforcement profession, I am appalled by what I witnessed in the video which allegedly resulted in the death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis Police Officers. The men and women of our police department feel the same way. We are saddened for the Nichols' family and friends, as well as for the city of Memphis. The excessive use of force by those officers was abominable.

A portrait of Tyre Nichols
Adrian Sainz
/
AP
A portrait of Tyre Nichols is displayed at a memorial service for him on Jan. 17 in Memphis, Tenn. Nichols died on Jan. 10, three days after a traffic stop with Memphis Police.

The noble profession of police service is fragile and is negatively impacted by any police officer's inability to support the oath each of us take to serve our communities, businesses, and residents. This is another deplorable event in this country that brings significant harm to a profession which has tremendous responsibility to appropriately serve and protect the communities. These officers failed to uphold the trust expected of them. I am elated to know the Memphis Police Department and prosecutors acted swiftly to address the officers' misconduct. Honesty, integrity, reverence for law, professionalism, respect for human dignity, and commitment to service are the Bloomington Police Department's Values. The Bloomington Police Department is also committed to the NAACP and Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police's Ten Shared Principles, which include we value the life of every person and consider life to be the highest value and all persons should be treated with dignity and respect.

I understand the community will share our outrage at the Memphis Police Officers' alleged illegal conduct. I would ask the public to express any disappointment responsibly and know the Bloomington Police Department aims to surpass expectations of those we serve in this community. This includes treating everyone with dignity. You have our commitment that the members of the Bloomington Police Department have pride in our work with community members to solve crime and other problems in this city."

Normal Police Chief Steve Petrilli said "these actions cannot be tolerated" and that NPD "stands by our core values of Professionalism and Integrity."

He shared a statement from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, calling Nichols' killing "appalling and indefensible."

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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