RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — In a sit-down interview with CBS 17’s Russ Bowen, Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead spoke about the death of Tyre Nichols.
The conversation on Monday came days after the release of scene and body camera footage out of Memphis, Tennessee, showing Nichols being beaten by officers before his death.
“I really don’t have the words to describe the anger and disappointment that I felt watching that video,” said Birkhead. “Horrific is just one word that sums it up.”
Birkhead also had the following to say on the matter.
I think Chief Davis has done a fantastic job addressing this and taking the swift action that she took to identify those officers, to terminate those officers and to work with the D.A. in Shelby County, Tennessee to indict those individuals on the appropriate charges—charges I think are appropriate based on what we’ve seen.
We never want to see this kind of incident unfold. We know we’ve come a long way. Here in North Carolina, we passed Senate Bill 300 a couple of years ago which is akin to the George Floyd Criminal Justice Act. I think we’ve made great strides, but we have a lot more work to do.
The incident in Memphis, I had this conversation last week, will set all of us back five years. All of us. Every time there’s an incident, we all get grouped into we’re all the same, all cops are bad, and that’s just not the case. That’s why it’s going to take leadership like the leadership that Chief Davis has been showing in Memphis, the leadership that we have here in North Carolina. Not just in Durham, at the Durham Police Department or the Sheriff’s Office but all across North Carolina. Leaders who are tackling this issue head-on and saying not in my agency, it is not going to happen here and we’re having that conversation at the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.”— Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead