President Biden expressed outrage Friday following the release of the video showing Tyre Nichols’ Jan. 7 encounter with police that preceded his death.
Mr. Biden said he was “deeply pained” by the “horrific” beating that he said served as “yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day.”
“We must do everything in our power to ensure our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all,” Mr. Biden said. “Real and lasting change will only come if we take action to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again.”
The City of Memphis released three separate videos Friday evening containing footage from body cameras and another video containing footage from a pole camera that captured the traffic stop that led to five Memphis police officers being charged with second-degree murder and other crimes in connection with Nichols’ death.
Each video contains a warning of graphic content.
Speaking with reporters before he departed for Camp David earlier Friday, Mr. Biden said “the image of America” is at stake with how the nation reacts to the video. But the president added that he was “obviously very concerned” about the potential for violence.
The president said he was “pleased” that Nichols’ mom called for peaceful protests amid the video’s release.
Mr. Biden spoke with Tyre Nichols’ mother and stepfather on Friday and offered his condolences. The president also commended the family for their courage and strength during the conversation, the White House said.
“I told her that I have some idea of what that loss is like,” Mr. Biden said.
The president’s young daughter was killed in a car accident in 1972. His son, Beau Biden, died of cancer in 2015.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the administration officials are coordinating with state and local officials to ensure they are prepared in the event the video sparks violent protests.
“My heart goes out to Tyre Nichols’ family and to Americans in Memphis and across the country who are grieving this tremendously painful loss,” Mr. Biden said.
“The footage that was released this evening will leave people justifiably outraged,” he said. “Those who seek justice should not to resort to violence or destruction. Violence is never acceptable; it is illegal and destructive. I join Mr. Nichols’ family in calling for peaceful protest.”