WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. − In response to the police body cam footage released by the Memphis Police Department Friday showing the brutality that lead to the death of Tyre Nichols, 29, death, the West Lafayette Police Department in a statement called the video "reprehensible, appalling, and criminal."
On Jan. 7, Nichols was stopped by five Memphis police officers for alleged reckless driving. The involved officers are seen having tased, pepper sprayed and beaten Nichols during the traffic stop. Nichols died in the hospital three days later as a result of his injuries.
West Lafayette Police's response
"Like so many of you, we have watched the video showing the violent beating of Tyre Nichols during an interaction with members of the Memphis Police Department," West Lafayette Police Chief Troy Harris wrote. "We found the actions of these officers reprehensible, appalling, and criminal. This behavior stands contrary to the values of policing and human decency.
"Displays of excessive use of force such as this destroy the public trust that good officers work their entire careers to establish. As law enforcement officers, we have a sworn duty to serve and protect this community, and injustices such as this is a betrayal and tear at the fabric of society. These actions uncover a disturbing culture that I assure you does not exist in your police department. There is no place for abuse of power or brutality in the law enforcement profession."
In addition to commenting on the excessive force seen in the police and street camera videos, Harris stated that he is willing to speak on behalf of the WLPD's training and procedures to West Lafayette citizens.
"I am always willing to have a conversation about the high standards, training, policies, procedures, statistics, and resources we have in place to ensure these incidents never happen in West Lafayette, but today is not that day," Harris said. "Today our message to you is: We are sorry. We are sorry that a man lost his life at the hands of those who swore to protect him, we are sorry that this may cause you to cast doubt upon law enforcement officers, and we are sorry that we all must relive another senseless tragedy that should have never happened.
"As your Chief of Police, I ask you not to give up on your officers. The men and women of the WLPD are some of the finest officers you will find across the entire country. They serve you with professionalism, excellence, and are willing to give their lives for you. We value the relationships we have built throughout our community and will continue to work hard to maintain your trust and strengthen our relationship."
To contact Harris, please call 765-775-5223 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The WeTip Hotline number is 1-800-78CRIME.
Lafayette Police's response
Lafayette Police Chief Scott Galloway provided the Journal & Courier with a response to the killing of Nichols as well, focusing on the importance of police professionalism and the high standards Lafayette police officers are held to.
"Police professionalism and conduct has been at the forefront over the last weekend," Galloway wrote. "The Lafayette Police Department strives to meet our community's safety needs and uphold the highest standards of professionalism and effectiveness. We are able to do this through training standards, innovative technologies, and excellent leadership. Our officers are proud to serve the citizens of Lafayette."
The five officers that stopped Nichols were part of the Street Crimes Unit (SCU), a unit that the LPD has as well. The Journal & Courier asked if any problems or complaints regarding this unit have arisen recently.
"Good question and happy to answer," Galloway said. "No complaints or on-going issues. We do pay close attention to span of management with all of our specialty teams and units. SCU in particular has one sergeant assigned to 4 officers. There is also a field lieutenant supervisor for that group. All of our units have body cams and in car cams."
The Journal & Courier reached out to the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office for comment on the events surrounding Nichols' death and will report those comments when available.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: WLPD: Actions in Nichols' video 'reprehensible, appalling, and criminal'