(PUEBLO, Colo.) — Following the death of Tyre Nichols, allegedly at the hands of five Memphis police officers, the Pueblo Police Department released a statement condemning police brutality Friday morning on Jan. 27.
According to the Associated Press (AP), Memphis police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis announced Friday, Jan. 20, that five officers were fired after a police probe determined they used excessive force and failed to intervene and render aid during the assault of the 29-year-old FedEx worker and father. The identified officers were: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith.
Chief of Police, Chris Noeller, said members of PPD are, “deeply saddened and disgusted by the murder of Tyre Nichols…” who was beaten for three minutes like “a human piñata” in a “savage” encounter, per the AP.
“There is no place of brutality or abuse of power within our profession. As law enforcement officers, we have a sacred duty to serve and protect our community, and any violation of that duty is a betrayal of the trust placed in us by those we serve,” expressed Chief Noeller.
The AP stated that Nichols was seven minutes away from his home when he was shocked, pepper sprayed, and restrained after officers pulled him over, according to police video viewed by Nichols’ family. He was returning from a park where he had taken photos of the sunset.
To reassure the community, Chief Noeller said PPD is “committed to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity,” taking all complaints of abuse seriously. He cited PPD’s “strict policies in place to prevent and address any instances of misconduct…”
The City of Memphis has been reluctant regarding the public release of police footage due to the possibility of unrest, according to AP. Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, asked that protests remain peaceful, saying violence “is not what Tyre wanted and won’t bring him back.”
“I understand that these incidents can cause great harm and mistrust in communities across the country and here in Pueblo,” said Chief Noeller. “As Chief, I am committed to working with the citizens of Pueblo to continue building trust and fostering stronger relationships between our officers and the public we serve.”
A statement sent by the Colorado Springs Police Department stated the following:
First and foremost, our condolences go out to the family and friends of Tyre Nichols. We are hearing the same information from the media as the rest of the world and find it as horrific as everyone else in our community. If protests occur, we will protect our citizens’ constitutional rights to lawfully protest Mr. Nichols’ murder. We are prepared to handle any demonstrations respectfully, professionally, and lawfully.Colorado Springs Police Department
Relatives of Nichols have accused the Memphis police officers of causing Nichols to have a heart attack, kidney failure and other medical issues after the severe beating, according to AP. He died on Jan. 10, leaving behind a four-year-old son.
Chief Noeller told the public that he and PPD are “here to listen,” and “will do our best to make sure that such incidents don’t happen here.”
“The actions of these five officers have once again blemished the reputations of those of us who come to work everyday to serve our communities with honor and integrity and robbed a family of their loved one,” stated Chief Noeller.
Nichols was described by family members as a man with a “pure soul,” who loved helping others. He was the type of guy who, “everywhere he went, he left an impact.” According to loved ones, Nichols liked to take pictures and loved to skateboard. Friends wore “Skate in Peace” shirts to his memorial.
A statement released by FedEx read, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our team member.”
“Our thoughts are with the family of Tyre Nichols, the citizens of Memphis, and the good men and women of the Memphis Police Department and other agencies throughout the country who work hard every day to deliver the highest level of service and uphold the values of Honor, Integrity, and Service every day,” Chief Noeller finished.