Ahead of the release of police body-worn camera video by Memphis police on Friday expected to show a 29-year-old Black man beaten by members of that city’s police days before he died, Saskatoon and Regina police chiefs have spoken out condemning the man’s death.
Tyre Nichols died three days after he was pulled over by Memphis police officers while driving on Jan. 7. Five officers, who are Black, were fired by the police force, and according to a New York Times report, they had been part of a special street crimes unit. They face charges, including second-degree murder.
Regina police chief Evan Bray strongly condemned the actions of the officers in Memphis who he said “while in the execution of their duties clearly did not follow the oath they took to serve and protect, and rather brutally beat Mr. Nichols to the point that he was hospitalized” and died of his injuries days later.
“This senseless, tragic and unnecessary murder has caused outrage, as it should, through the United States and through the world.”
Bray said he reached out to leaders in Regina’s Black community to express his sympathy for what they would watch unfold, saying that every time something like this has happened, from the violent beating of Rodney King by police in Los Angeles or the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, it brings trauma and heartache.
He said Regina police officers are sickened by the killing of Nichols and the force is “even more steadfast in our determination to work with community to build meaningful relationships and as importantly, commit to transparency, accountability and oversight.”
Saskatoon police chief Troy Cooper released a statement Friday saying he has reached out to the Black community in the city to discuss Nichols’ killing and offer support.
“Although this tragedy occurred in another country, it will impact trust and confidence in policing by Black and all equity-deserving communities in Canada as well,” Cooper said.
He pointed to efforts to enhance training on de-escalation and unconscious bias, and said it will continue the community-led redesign of its advisory committee to include Black voices.
“Our staff are professional, accountable and committed to the safety of every citizen. Together we condemn this unnecessary and tragic loss of life,” Cooper said.
Nichols was remembered as a loving father, free spirit and a gentleman, by family and friends, CNN reported .
The news seems to be flying at us faster all the time. From COVID-19 updates to politics and crime and everything in between, it can be hard to keep up. With that in mind, the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has created an Afternoon Headlines newsletter that can be delivered daily to your inbox to help make sure you are up to date with the most vital news of the day. Click here to subscribe.