Earlier this month an event occurred in Memphis, Tennessee which has grabbed the conscience of our nation and shaken it deeply. A young man named Tyre Nichols was pulled over by Memphis police for what should have been a routine traffic stop. Unfortunately, inexplicably, Tyre was brutally beaten by officers who then displayed little regard for his well-being. Tyre died three days later.
A video of the traffic stop was released last Friday. It is difficult to watch. To know that this senseless loss of life came as it did by the hands of those sworn to protect and serve is an affront to all of us.
Many have come forward to condemn this act of violence; I wish to add my voice to that list. I join with Columbus Police Chief Mike Richardson and Bartholomew County Sheriff Chris Lane, who have shared their disgust at what happened.
“It is disheartening to see the unacceptable abuse of power that is demonstrated in the video released on Friday,” Chief Richardson said. “Watching it, I find myself bewildered at how this behavior could have occurred and continued as more police arrived. It was a failure every step of the way.”
Sheriff Lane added, “This was a despicable act toward another human being. This act tarnishes the badge of all who wear it and we can and must do better. It is not enough to have policies, training and protocols. We need to have kindness and empathy in our hearts.”
As your mayor I am thankful for the commitment of our local law enforcement to policing that emphasizes de-escalation, understanding of our community and a deeply felt commitment to the public it serves. The kind of violence that was directed toward Tyre is simply unacceptable.
Mayor Jim Lienhoop
January 30, 2023