President Biden spoke with the mother and stepfather of Tyre Nichols on Friday afternoon ahead of the release of body camera footage of his violent arrest.
Once Memphis police released the footage, the president said he was "outraged and deeply pained," and joined Nichols' family in calling for peaceful protest.
"Like so many, I was outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols' death," Mr. Biden said in a statement released by the White House shortly after the release of the footage. "It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day. My heart goes out to Tyre Nichols' family and to Americans in Memphis and across the country who are grieving this tremendously painful loss."
"The footage that was released this evening will leave people justifiably outraged," the president continued. "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."
During the call with RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells earlier Friday, Mr. Biden offered condolences from him and the first lady.
As the president was leaving the White House for Camp David on Friday evening, he told reporters he spoke with RowVaughn Wells for 10 to 15 minutes, and was pleased she called for any protests sparked by the release of the police footage to be peaceful.
"She's obviously in enormous pain," Mr. Biden said. "… I told her I had some idea of what that loss was like, and that although it's impossible to believe now, but a time will come when his memory brings a smile before a tear."
The president's first wife and their daughter died in a car crash in 1972, and his son Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015.
The president told reporters he would urge Congress to pass federal police reforms known as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
"We should get this under control," Mr. Biden said.
Nichols' family and authorities have described the incident as a brutal encounter, and five fired Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder in the case.
At the Justice Department, FBI Director Christopher Wray told reporters he has seen the footage.
"What happened in Memphis is obviously tragic," Wray said. "I have seen the video myself, and I will tell you, I was appalled. I'm struggling to find a stronger word, but I will just tell you I was appalled."
- Kathryn Watson contributed reporting.
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"CBS Evening News" headlines for Friday, January 27, 2023