President Biden on Friday spoke with the parents of Tyre Nichols ahead of the release of video footage expected to show police officers beating Nichols, a Black man who died after a traffic stop earlier this month.
Biden spoke with RowVaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother, and Rodney Wells, his stepfather, “to directly express his and Dr. Biden’s condolences for Tyre Nichols’ death. During the conversation, the President commended the family’s courage and strength,” the White House said in a readout of the call.
In a video clip of the call shared by a Washington Post reporter, Biden can be heard telling Nichols’s parents that their comments earlier in the day were “moving.” Biden recounted how he lost his son, Beau Biden, to cancer and his daughter, Naomi, in a car accident.
“I didn’t have the courage to do what you did,” Biden told Nichols’s parents.
Biden a day earlier called for “meaningful reforms” after five officers were indicted with second-degree murder charges in the death of Nichols, who was 29.
“Tyre’s death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all,” Biden said in a statement on Thursday night.
The five now-former Memphis Police officers involved in the incident were charged with second-degree murder and other offenses on Thursday. All five men, who are all Black, were fired from the department.
Several officials at the federal, state and local level have described the video footage as horrific and appalling, with some officials comparing it to the Rodney King video from 1991, when grainy footage showed the African American man being beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis on Friday said the video of the incident in her city is “about the same, if not worse” than the 1991 King footage.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday that Biden had been briefed on the video, but he had not watched it. She reiterated that the White House is calling for demonstrations in response to the release of the footage to remain peaceful.
Source: The Hill