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Southern Center for Human Rights Statement on the Killing of Tyre Nichols

From Atlanta to Memphis, from Dr. King’s place of birth to his place of death, we stand in solidarity with communities demanding an end to state violence and death. We mourn with all those who loved Tyre Nichols, especially his family.

The horrifying police violence we witnessed in that video demonstrates why some communities feel an innate fear in interactions with officers who have sworn an oath to “protect and serve.” Who did those officers serve? Where was the protection from injury, harm, and death for Mr. Nichols? Our communities deserve better than to watch each other be pummeled, suffocated, shot, or tased to death on a repeating cycle. 

Police violence must end, and it cannot be eradicated with more training, though some will use this tragedy to call for it. Atlantans understand this.

For over a year, a diverse movement has been registering their dissent with Atlanta Police’s proposed Public Safety Training Facility in the Weelaunee Forest. Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe, who killed Rayshard Brooks in the summer of 2020, had just undergone a training on de-escalation and had passed a “Use of Deadly Force” training mere months before shooting Mr. Brooks. Atlantans know all too well how deadly it can be to emphasize training after every life stolen by police violence. It just does not work.

From Atlantans asking for resources, not cages and militarized police compounds, to Memphians demanding an end to surveillance of local activists and an end to the tactical units that overpolice Black and poor neighborhoods, communities across the country are making clear that public safety is brought about by resources that allow people to thrive, not by more violent policing, patrolling, and punishment.