DALLAS — Following the release of bodycam footage showing five Memphis police officers savagely beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols to death, North Texas city leaders are sharing their reactions.
All five officers involved have since been fired and charged with murder.
In North Texas, the Dallas Police Department spent Friday preparing for planned protests over this latest incident of police brutality.
Nichols’ family made a public plea for any and all protests to remain peaceful.
Dominique Alexander, President and CEO of Dallas-based advocacy group Next Generation Action Network organized a protest that drew roughly 40 people outside of the Dallas Police Department's headquarters.
"If we don’t find a way to accomplish and end police brutality and this culture of violence on black and brown communities, we will continue to keep on going in this circle," Alexander said.
Dallas Police Department Chief Eddie Garcia posted a video to the department’s social media pages, calling the former Memphis officers’ actions in Nichol’s death “despicable.”
“He [Nichols] should still be here with his friends and family,” said Garcia.
Garcia said he understands emotions are high, demands for justice and calls for change will be made; he just asks the residents to protest safely and in a peaceful manner as the Nichols family asked.
“As your chief, we will do all that we can to build on the trust that we’ve already established for those who live in our great city,” Garcia said. “I know these are just words and a message, that it will be our actions as a department that will show you our commitment to you in doing what is right.”
He applauded Memphis’ leadership in the swift actions against the officers involved in Nichols’ death and said he and the city of Dallas stand by the Nichols family.
Watch his full message below:
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson released a statement after he viewed the video Friday evening, saying in part, "I am shocked and disgusted by the reprehensible acts of violence shown in these videos. The actions of these former police officers were disgraceful and a betrayal of their oath to uphold the law and protect their community.'"
Other law enforcement officials and city leaders share their thoughts:
Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes released a statement, saying that the details surrounding the death are disturbing, tragic, and a contradiction to the service of thousands of officers.
"When force is used without justification or restraint, it undermines confidence and trust in law enforcement throughout the country," Noakes said.
Noakes further said that moments like this highlight the critical importance of good police work and community engagement, and emphasize the important of treating the public with dignity and respect.
"Every interaction officers have with citizens is an opportunity to build trust," Noakes said. "The men and women of the Fort Worth Police Department will continue working diligently to enhance trust and relationships with all the communities we serve through professional service, transparency and accountability."
Irving Police Chief Derick Miller called the Memphis officers' actions "appalling."
The Grand Prairie Department Police Chief Daniel Scesney said, "Real cops don’t punch and kick restrained people. Period."
Keller Police Chief Brad Fortune said "those who tarnish our badge and profession should be held accountable swiftly and to the fullest extent of the law."
Lewisville Police Chief Kevin Deaver said "I am shocked that any person could show such a level of callous cruelty to another human being, regardless of circumstances."
Flower Mound Police Chief Andy Kancel said what happened was "absolutely reprehensible and he was "horrified and disgusted watching the released footage."
The Arlington Police Department said it "unequivocally denounces the actions of the now-former officers" and it "does not align with the training or established best practices of our profession."
North Richland Hills Police Chief Jimmy Perdue said "the brutal beating and the blatant disregard for Mr. Nichols Civil Rights do not represent the caliber of officer this profession demands."
Frisco Police Chief David Shilson said what happened to Nichols was "not just criminal, but it put on display a violation of public trust that communities should have in the policing profession."
McKinney Police Chief J.H. Ellenburg said in a statement tweeted out that he was beyond horrified seeing the video footage out of Memphis.
"Tyre Nichols was a man, a human being who deserved to be treated as such." Ellenburg said. "What was done to him by those 5 men who undeservedly wore the badge of our profession was reprehensible and evil."
DeSoto Police Chief Joe Costa released a statement saying the actions of the Memphis police officers were not anything learned in any police academy, nor were their actions acceptable or defensible by anyone.
"The killing of Mr. Nichols has left me disgusted, angry, sickened and ashamed that officers, who took the same oath as I, could do something so brutal, criminal and outrageous to someone they have taken an oath to protect," Costa said in the statement. "I can assure the citizens of DeSoto that our DeSoto Police Officers believe that the treatment of Tyre Nichols was appalling, sickening and disgusting and nothing they can condone. We, DeSoto Police Officers, value the fair and humane treatment of everyone we come in contact with."
Dallas ISD Superintendent Stephanie S. Elizalde issued the following statement:
"There are no words
When the unimaginable plays out before our eyes, there are no words that can help us comprehend the horrors we see, like the images captured on the Memphis video where a young man brutally lost his life. There are no words to comfort, sense make, analyze, or explain. None.
In times when words fail us, we must cling to the humanity that binds us to guard our hearts and minds and keep us from losing hope, making it impossible to move forward, together. Now, not tomorrow, we must come together and take a stand against this type of blatant disregard for human life. More than ever, we should be compelled to, in our own little corners of the world, work every day to bridge build and teach our children to understand, respect, and honor each other. Even more importantly, we must model that behavior with our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and others.
The world becomes a dangerous place when we give ourselves a pass to somehow close our eyes to any harsh reality that negatively impacts our world. And when we fail to address it, it plays out in the streets, in our homes, and in our communities, as we have seen in Memphis.
As a mother, my heart breaks at the thought of anyone’s child being subjected to that type of inhumane treatment. As a superintendent of a school district focused on preparing young people to lead better lives and contribute to the world around them, I am more resolved than ever to help give students, the tools to improve the world around them, for they are our hope for a better tomorrow. And as a member of this human race, I will not stop advocating for respect, understanding, tolerance, equity, and kindness.
At this moment, it is easy to lose hope. We have seen far too many instances like this playing out across the nation. But I am not a quitter, and neither are our teachers, principals and team members. Tough times require even tougher people, and we are here for the solution. You have our word that Dallas ISD will do everything in our power to ensure our young students are equipped to do the same, and we invite you to join us.
Our sincerest thoughts and prayers are with Tyre Nichols’ family. And I ask that we all work to bring some meaning to this incredible tragedy. Let’s start today."