Chicago-area leaders speak out after Memphis police release video of Tyre Nichols' brutal beating

Chicago-area leaders have been vocal in condemning the actions of five former Memphis police officers after bodycam video of Tyre Nichols arrest and beating was released Friday night. 

The footage shows Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man from Memphis, being beaten by five police officers during a traffic stop back on January 7. He died three days later, leaving his 4-year-old son without a father and his family without many answers.

After investigators viewed the footage earlier this month, the five officers involved in the case — all of whom are also Black — were fired and later charged with second-degree murder.

Shortly after the video release, thoughts from Chicago-area leaders flooded social media.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker equated the injustice against Nichols to that of George Floyd, Adam Toledo, Laquan McDonald, Breonna Taylor and many others while blaming their deaths on "institutional racism," in a statement on Twitter. 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot put out a statement urging those who are "rightfully calling for justice" to do so peacefully. 

"Make no mistake: what happened to Tyre was a horrific, unconscionable, and preventable act of violence carried out by those sworn to serve and protect," Lightfoot said.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown also shared his condolences to Nichols' family on Twitter Friday evening. 

Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly says their agency condemns the "abhorrent acts" of the officers involved.

"The criminal conduct displayed in the video released [Friday] is a betrayal of the public trust, betrayal of a sacred oath, and a betrayal of all the men and women who serve the cause of justice and public safety," Kelly said.


Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she was outraged and devastated. 

"And can we finally all agree that there have been far too many times?" Preckwinkle said in a statement. 

Former Supt. Eddie Johnson spoke to FOX 32 after he watched the body camera footage.

Johnson says the actions of the Memphis officers involved violate law enforcement policies and standards altogether.

The Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability also chimed in drawing parallels between Nichols' experience and fear many Chicagoans have had to endure. 

"Our hope for the city of Memphis and for Chicago, is to create a future where public safety first-responders move away from a culture of enforcing authority and to one where harm and violence prevention is prioritized," CCPSA said in a statement. "Policing and public safety need to change in Memphis, in Chicago, and throughout our country."

As many anticipated, protests broke out all over the country Friday evening after the video was released. 

The protests were largely peaceful, with demonstrators blocking traffic while chanting and marching through the streets of New York, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. A few arrests were made in New York after protesters vandalized a police car.