RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Police chiefs in Wake County and Moore County released statements after body camera footage showed Memphis police officers beating Tyre Nichols.
The Memphis Police Department released body camera video on Friday, one day after the five police officers were charged with second-degree murder.
The Memphis Police Chief, Cerelyn Davis, said the footage showed “the disregard for a human being displayed in this video.”
Davis previously served as the Durham Police Chief from 2016 to 2021.
After the body camera footage was released, other agencies in North Carolina gave statements.
In a post on the Apex Police Department’s Facebook page, police chief Jason P. Armstrong said:
I’ve waited until seeing the video from Memphis PD, before commenting on this incident publicly. We find ourselves at this place again that seems all too familiar for us. No doubt, anyone who just watched that video is filled with a great deal of emotions right now. I am heartbroken for the suffering Mr. Nichols endured and the trauma his family will experience having to live out this nightmare publicly. Some of the actions the officers perpetrated were the very actions they took an oath to protect the public from and that cannot be excused.
My thoughts and prayers are with the Memphis community as they embark on this time of uncertainty for the well-being of their community. Many conversations and discussions will take place in the wake of what we just viewed. People will have strong opinions about the decisions and actions everyone involved in this incident made that evening. Too often we see division and divisiveness when we are rocked to our core by one of these tragic occurrences. Division has not yielded the outcomes I think we all want to see. If we can find it in our hearts, as decent people, to chip away at the barriers that divide us, maybe, we can one day achieve a society where we are not seeing these harms committed.
As I type this message, I’m not focused on my role or title as Police Chief. I hope anyone reading this can feel that this is coming from a person who understands the challenges that we all face. I hope my words project decency and care for people, all people. Because in this moment, my heart is focused on the people that I love and care about; my wife and children, my friends and family, the men and women I work with, and the members of the community I serve. We need healing as a nation and I commit to being a source of healing. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Nichols family for the loss of their loved one.Jason P. Armstrong, Apex Police Chief
The Chief of the Southern Pines Police Department also released a statement:
By now, many of us have watched the videos where the world has witnessed the beating of Tyre Nichols at the hands of five Memphis police officers. While many aspects of the interaction with Mr. Nichols have not been released to this point, it is very clear the actions taken by the five Memphis police officers are not consistent with use of force standards and training, de-escalation training, duty to intervene, and general human decency. Once again, our honorable profession as a whole has been tainted by the actions of a few. As a profession, we must continue to hold ourselves to higher standards to maintain the trust of the people we serve. The Southern Pines Police Department remains committed to working in the community, and with the community we serve. We extend our condolences to the Nichols family and pray for the Memphis community.Southern Pines Police Chief Nick Polidori
The Durham County Sheriff released a statement saying:
Our nation is, yet again, crying out for justice, equality, reform, and answers – answers to the same question – asking why this happened again.Durham County Sheriff Clarence F. Birkhead
On January 7, 2023, Tyre Nichols died at the hands of law enforcement. This is the latest incident where law enforcement acted in a manner that caused the death of a black man – this time by five members of the Memphis Police Department. Truly, I am saddened by the actions of those five police officers. The fact that all five are black makes this tragic situation even more disturbing and disappointing. I am, however, encouraged by the quick and transparent response of the Memphis Police Department and the legal system across Shelby County, Tenn., which took decisive action in investigating and indicting the former officers.
It pains me to say that I am disheartened so little has changed since George Floyd’s murder almost three years ago. Immediately after Mr. Floyd’s death, I was part of discussions and workgroups that led to the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 300. This NC Senate legislation created model policies for law enforcement agencies and built new and stronger community relationships. I was hopeful we had turned a corner and would not see another incident where officers would abuse their power in such a manner as to cause the death of a fellow human being. Undoubtedly, we have much more work to do – not just here in North Carolina – but across the nation, to train up professional law enforcement, restore public trust, and end these senseless acts of brutality.
In the coming days as the public views the body-worn camera footage and begins to gather to express outrage and demand reforms, I encourage everyone to do so in a peaceful manner. Let us gather in a way that demonstrates support for the family of Tyre Nichols. Let us gather to remember Tyre Nichols with one voice – a voice committed to building a just community for all. Let us continue to work together to create positive change and real reforms to the criminal legal system. I will stand with you!
CBS 17 will update this story if other agencies release statements.