Mayoral candidate Paul Vallas is releasing the following statement in reaction to the announcement yesterday that five former members of the Memphis Police Department will face criminal charges including second degree murder for their conduct in the death of Tyre Nichols:
“We can’t have safer communities unless our police officers live up to their responsibilities to follow the law and protect our citizens. When there is egregious misconduct by officers like in the Tyre Nichols case, there must always be swift, just accountability at both the individual and organizational levels. As Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said, these officers showed a failing of basic humanity and they will now face serious legal consequences. This type of disgusting behavior is the 180 degree opposite of the fundamental principle that official authority should never be used in a manner that results in hurting communities, and brings further reputation and relational harm to the law enforcement community. It gives a bad name to the vast majority of officers who serve and protect people with dignity and respect each and every day.
I believe strongly in supporting our police officers and giving them the resources they need to do their job, but there must always be a balance that seeks to protect and strengthen the relationship between police and the community they serve. When I worked to negotiate the police contract with the city, I pushed to include numerous new accountability provisions designed to hold officers responsible for misconduct. As Mayor, I will institute a true community policing strategy to bring the police and the community together to both reduce crime and avoid the kind of tragedy that played out in Memphis.”