A GROUP PHOTO of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC)
State Rep. Earl Harris Jr. (D-East Chicago), chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC), released the following statement regarding the police-action killing of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man in Tennessee who was killed by five Memphis Police Department officers earlier this month. Nichols died Jan. 10, three days after being brutally beaten by the officers following a traffic stop. Body-cam footage from the attack was released this week.
“My prayers go out to Tyre’s family and loved ones, especially his 4-year-old son,” Harris said. “Another family has lost a son, brother, father and friend in a senseless act of violence. While nothing can undo the pain they’re feeling, Tyre’s death reflects an urgent need to address policing in this country.
“His killing is a painful reminder that America has a long way to go to truly achieve full equality for every citizen,” Harris said. “After the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and the worldwide protests that followed, it is disheartening yet sadly unsurprising that we’re here again, less than three years later. The actions of these five Memphis police officers are reprehensible. No one should fear for their lives during an encounter with police, yet for Black Americans, a routine traffic stop could end in death. We can only achieve true justice when we see systematic changes to our corrections system that prevents these unjust killings from happening in the first place, and when all officers who break their oath face the fullest extent of the law.
“We in the IBLC are horrified by what we saw in the body-cam footage. As we pray for Tyre’s family and loved ones, we also pray for swift action against the five police officers involved in his killing. All five have been formally charged with second-degree murder, and now it’s up to the criminal justice system to decide their fate.
“Today, the IBLC is mourning the unjust killing of Tyre Nichols, and mourning the life he was not allowed to live. While we fully support Hoosiers acting on their First Amendment right to assemble, it’s our hope that any protests that may occur in Indiana in the wake of this senseless killing remain peaceful.”