The NAACP Memphis Branch is calling for law enforcement officers and first responders who were involved in the traffic stop that led to Tyre Nichols' death to be terminated and prosecuted.
NAACP Memphis Branch President Van Turner made the comments at a Sunday afternoon press conference two days after the videotape of Nichols' beating was released to the public and after three consecutive days of protests. The video shows Memphis police officers pepper spraying, tasing, and beating Nichols.
"If you were an officer or first responder and you sat there and watched this young man die and you did nothing to help resuscitate him, you did nothing to give him aid, you're just as culpable as the people who beat him down and killed him," Turner said. "We want justice, and we want them brought to justice."
The NAACP Memphis Branch held the press conference in conjunction with the Tennessee State Conference NAACP at the Memphis NAACP headquarters on Vance Avenue. NAACP leaders in addition to calling for those involved in Nichols' death to be prosecuted also called for lawmakers to pass police reform legislation at the state and national levels.
Justice begn quickly:Justice for Tyre Nichols began at historic pace. US is watching what Memphis does next
Remembering Nichols:'He loved Tennessee': Friends remember Tyre Nichols, man who died after MPD arrest
"We must have legislation that is effective throughout this country that makes sure that we stop the killing of Black men," said Gloria Sweet-Love, NAACP Tennessee State Conference President. "The NAACP continues to advocate for an end to qualified immunity. An end to increased data collection on police encounters. The elimination of no-knock warrants. Standardization of comprehensive training requirements."
The death of Nichols remains under investigation by the FBI and has led to the firing, arrests, and indictments of five former Memphis police officers. Those officers have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct, and one count of official oppression, court records show. All five officers were part of Memphis police's SCORPION Unit which was permanently deactivated on Saturday, according to MPD.
The SCORPION Unit is an acronym for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods.
SCORPION unit shuttered:Memphis SCORPION unit tied to Tyre Nichols' beating death 'permanently deactivated'
Church remembers Nichols:'We can't sit this one out:' The BLVD holds first Sunday service after release of Nichols video
However, the video released Friday night shows that other officers were present on the scene of Nichols' beating.
Two members of the Memphis Fire Department have been relieved of duty for their involvement in the traffic stop, as have two deputies from the Shelby County Sheriff's Office seen in the video.
Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy has said that bringing charges against the five officers does not preclude him from bringing additional charges against others who may have been involved.
Memphis City Councilmember JB Smiley, in addition to other protestors Saturday and Sunday, also called for other officers seen in publicized video footage of Nichols' traffic stop and beating to be fired and charged, specifically an officer who calls for officers to "stomp" Nichols and appears to deploy his taser at the first scene, at Raines and Ross Roads, where officers pull Nichols from his car.
The officer's body camera footage shows Nichols' first encounter with officers and also shows Nichols running away.
"I hope they stomp his ass," the officer said.
The officer does not appear to be one of the five officers terminated and charged in Nichols' death. Davis has said other officers are under internal investigation, but neither the names nor employment statuses of those officers have been made public.
Turner credited the actvisits and protests for their role in the actions following Nichols' death and the NAACP wants to turn, "that protest into policy and we want to protect that policy with the vote."
"What happens after the protest," Turner said. "It has to be good policy, good law, and the way you protect those policies is by the vote. You have to put in elected officials in office that understand what we're going through in this community and will fight for us in the halls of Congress. In the halls of the Tennessee General Assembly and (Memphis) City Hall and (Shelby) County Hall."
Commercial Appeal Reporters Laura Testino and Lucas Finton contributed to this report.
Omer Yusuf covers the Ford project in Haywood County, FedEx, tourism and banking for The Commercial Appeal. He can be reached via email Omer.Yusuf@commercialappeal.com or followed on Twitter @OmerAYusuf.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Tyre Nichols death: NAACP Memphis wants officers involved terminated