IL leaders on police beating in Memphis: ‘This trauma is not and never will be normal’

Capitol News Illinois and Belleville News-Democrat file photos

Illinois officials spoke out Friday night as the city of Memphis released police body camera footage and surveillance video showing five officers beating a 29-year-old Black man during a traffic stop.

Tyre Nichols died three days after the Jan. 7 incident.

The five officers, who are also Black, have all been fired and face criminal charges including second-degree murder.

Here’s what Illinois officials had to say:

Illinois Legislative Black Caucus

“The release of police body camera footage makes clear what we already knew: the murder of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols was brutal and unjustified. Our deepest condolences are with his family and all those who knew and loved him. The police officers who beat this young man to death have no place in law enforcement, and were rightly dismissed. Still, this is not enough. These officers callously and viciously killed another human being, and Mr. Nichols’ family deserves justice. We know very clearly this is about more than a few bad apples.

“For the people who are angry, for the people who are sick of living in fear, we will always stand with you in the fight for justice. We are proud of the steps we have taken in Illinois, including restrictions on dangerous policing methods and closing prosecution loopholes in officer-involved killings, but we know there is still much more work to do.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker

“Today, as our nation grapples with the release of another horrific video of senseless violence against a Black man at the hands of police officers, my thoughts are with the loved ones of Tyre Nichols. Tyre was a father and a son, a hard worker devoted to his family. He deserved the privilege of seeing his son grow up and spending his life with those who love him. He deserved to live.

“As we mourn for Tyre, his family, and the entire Memphis community, we hold close the memories of George Floyd, Adam Toledo, Laquan McDonald, Breonna Taylor, and too many other Black and brown parents, children, and community members who have lost their lives due to institutional racism and violence. We must recommit ourselves to pursuing real justice and peace in the name of Tyre Nichols and so many others who never had their stories told.”

Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton

“Today, I speak the name of Tyre Nichols. He was a son, a brother, and a father. Tyre should be alive today.

“Once again, the people of this country must see and be exposed to violent, sickening video from a traffic stop. Violence at the hands of police and systemic racism has taken far, far too many lives. This trauma is not and never will be normal. This must end.

“I send my deepest condolences to the people of Memphis and all who are hurt and outraged after the release of this video. As communities peacefully protest and make space to grieve and process, we stand with you. We remain committed to healing the harms of such injustice and protecting the right to life, safety, and happiness for Black and Brown families.

“As the mother of four daughters, I can’t imagine the anguish of losing a child so suddenly and so violently. Tyre’s family and loved ones will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers, as they grapple with the ongoing pain and trauma of this video and his tragic death. I hope they have the support and comfort needed in this incredibly difficult time. May his memory be a blessing.”

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois

“First and foremost: my thoughts are with the family of Tyre Nichols and the Memphis community. As those who were blessed to call Mr. Nichols a family member, friend, or neighbor mourn, we must commit to pursuing justice for his death, which feels all too familiar for far too many Americans, especially Black Americans.

“Mr. Nichols’ killing is a violation of the social contract between law enforcement and the people they are sworn to protect — and people are rightfully demanding accountability, corrective action, and justice. I join Mr. Nichols’ family and President Biden in asking for demonstrations to remain peaceful.

“We must support the efforts of local, state, and federal authorities as they continue their investigation into Mr. Nichols’ death. And elected officials must continue taking steps to create a justice system that is truly equal for all. I’m committed to working with Senator (Cory) Booker and our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to finally achieve critical reforms.”