Anger. Hurt. Frustration. These are just some of the many emotions experienced after seeing the brutal treatment suffered by Tyre Nichols during a Tennessee traffic stop. The videos released today are far beyond disturbing; we echo the sentiments of Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis in describing this violent police encounter as heinous, reckless, and inhumane. It was a failure of our system of justice, as law enforcement officers, as public servants, and simply as human beings. Shelby County District Attorney Steven J. Mulroy acted swiftly and appropriately in charging all five officers with Second Degree Murder and related offenses.
As County Prosecutors, we are entrusted with the responsibility of serving as the chief law enforcement officers within our own respective communities – we are your neighbors and your friends. All 21 County Prosecutor’s offices and all police agencies in New Jersey are dedicated to building strong and healthy relationships with our communities.
New Jersey has one of the finest law enforcement communities in the country, but we are not ignorant to the fact this breakdown of basic humanity can happen anywhere. Every law enforcement encounter such as this reverses the progress we are making across our state. The trust we have worked so diligently to establish is damaged. We want to assure our residents that we will continue the momentum of building relationships and partnerships with the community through transparency, accountability, training, and professional development. In the last few years, all law enforcement officers in New Jersey have received revised and extensive Use of Force training and Integrated Communication and Tactics (ICAT) and Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) de-escalation training. ICAT and ABLE instruction specifically trains our officers to de-escalate situations and intervene if they see other officers using excessive force, regardless of rank.
Our sincere concerns and prayers are with the family, friends, and loved ones of Mr. Nichols, and the entire city of Memphis as they cope with this tragedy and seek to rebuild trust in those who have taken an oath to protect and serve them. With this matter being investigated jointly by the Department of Justice, FBI, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, and the Memphis Police Department, we have the utmost confidence that the virtues of our criminal justice system will prevail.
We remind anyone who believes they have been unfairly treated by law enforcement to contact their local police chief or County Prosecutor’s office to ensure a thorough and transparent investigation is conducted.