Memphis police video of Nichols death “shocks the conscience” of Vermont law enforcement leaders

Stillshot from second video where Tyre Nichols is kicked in head at least twice.
Memphis Police Dept. body cam footage of police tasing and striking Tyre Nichols. The altercation begins at about 1 minute and ends at about 2:13 when Nichols runs off.

By Guy Page

In the aftermath of the death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis January 10, and the release of the bodycam footage showing five on-duty police officers tasing, kicking and striking him, Vermont law enforcement leaders this weekend have issued statements of shock and disgust about the police officers’ behavior.

Five Memphis police officers were fired and, earlier this week, charged with murder.

The following response was issued by the Vermont State Police:

The men and women of the Vermont State Police are united in their shock and anger in witnessing video of an egregious display of police brutality in Memphis that led to a man’s death.

“This blatant, horrific use of excessive force by members of law enforcement shocks the conscience,” said Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police. “I am sickened by what I saw and share the outrage that so many people are feeling. It is beyond appalling that officers who should be protecting and serving the public instead beat a man to death after a traffic stop. These officers failed in their basic humanity, betrayed their oaths, and tarnished not only their own badges but those of police officers everywhere. I applaud the authorities in Tennessee for bringing murder charges so quickly, because murder is the only way to characterize this terrible attack.”

In this second video, at about 2:17 following Nichols’ apprehension after fleeing, a police officer can be seen at least twice kicking a prone, restrained Nichols in the head.

The colonel continued: “I know I speak for every member of the Vermont State Police, sworn and civilian, in expressing our anger over this incident and our collective call for an end to police brutality and excessive force. We extend our condolences to the family, loved ones and supporters of Tyre Nichols, and we understand that the impact of his death is far-reaching.”

The Vermont State Police wants residents and visitors to our state to understand that VSP has in place systems and training that seek to prevent similar incidents from occurring here.

In this video, Nichols can be heard calling ‘Mom’ repeatedly while suffering physical abuse.

Following the murder by police of George Floyd in Minneapolis nearly three years ago, the Vermont State Police doubled down on its longstanding commitment to fair and impartial policing. Troopers receive extensive training on de-escalating potentially volatile situations. They are required to provide first aid to anyone in medical distress. They must intervene if they witness acts of excessive force committed by fellow troopers. Additionally, VSP is committed to ensuring that victims and community members have access to professional support if they experience harm or face a mental health crisis.

The state police’s co-directors of Fair and Impartial Policing and Community Affairs, Capt. Barbara Kessler and Dr. Etan Nasreddin-Longo, lead the agency’s efforts to ensure that all members practice policing that is equitable and just; that VSP forges meaningful connections with historically marginalized communities; and that our workforce better reflects those we serve.

 In the wake of the Memphis beating, Public Safety Commissioner Jennifer Morrison called on police agencies to fundamentally reexamine themselves and commit to stopping excessive force from occurring in their ranks.

The aftermath, with Nichols in distress being ignored by police.

“The brutal attack on Tyre Nichols by on-duty police officers in Memphis was nothing short of vicious and incomprehensible,” Commissioner Morrison said. “As a police leader, I am outraged that this type of excessive force could occur in 2023. I call on every police leader to reflect on how we are selecting, training and supervising our officers. If our officers cannot see the humanity in every person they interact with, they do not deserve to wear the badge. Our officers must be capable of self-regulation, compassion and integrity to intervene when they see something wrong. In Vermont, as police leaders it is our duty and responsibility to remain constantly vigilant to prevent a grotesque incident like this from occurring here.”

Williston Police Department Chief Patrick Foley:

The Williston Police Department sends our sincere condolences to Tyre Nichols family for their tragic loss. The agonizing video depicting the vicious beating and subsequent murder of Tyre, by those who took an oath to protect and serve, shocks the conscience and defies everything this profession stands for.

The release of the body worn camera footage will no doubt be met with outrage, disdain, and frustration. Those officers who are responsible for the death of Tyre Nichols have been fired, arrested and charged with his murder.

The behavior of those officers charged with Tyre’s murder goes against every principal of the law enforcement profession and is in direct contradiction of the dedication and sacrifice of the vast majority of our law enforcement communities who strive to protect and serve. The Williston Police Department strives each day to build trust, and events such as this is a sobering reminder of how quickly that can be lost. We remain committed to protect and serve and to maintaining a safe and secure community in Williston.

Vermont Criminal Justice Council/Vermont Police Academy:

The death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of law enforcement is indefensible. The suffering of Mr. Nichols,  and the failure of law enforcement officers involved to intervene, leaves all of us outraged and  disgusted. This senseless and preventable act of violence has resulted in criminal arrests, none of which  will satisfy a family’s abrupt and unjust loss of life. 

There are no excuses for these types of police actions. The officers involved have betrayed their  department, their oath of office, and brought shame on every law enforcement officer nationwide who  works diligently to protect the communities being served. 

The Vermont Police Academy, with continued help and guidance from the Vermont Criminal Justice  Council, will continue to engage with community stakeholders in ways that align with our values:  protection and preservation of human life, treating all with dignity, and assuring accountability for each  of us. All law enforcement officers take an oath that their agencies and communities expect them to live up to: 

“On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust. I will always  have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions. I will always maintain the  highest ethical standards and uphold the values of my community, and the agency I serve.”  

We can do more than offer condolences to a family—we can demonstrate leadership by changing not  just technical rules, but changing the culture of our profession itself.

Categories: Crime

8 replies »

  1. Outrageous
    Beyond comprehension
    Gangsters in uniform, just awful.
    This is a continued systemic problem among many law enforcement agencies, it begins with training. This aggravated approach and shoot to kill mentality has to stop.
    Including in Vermont, the 2 people fatally shot in Montpelier with minimal accountability was dismissed and washed by the attorney general..the “approach” that resulted in death in our community has still not been properly investigated, nor sufficiently addressed by the mayor, elected officials and press.

    I was a former victim of unnecessary police brutality in the 90’s. I am lucky to have survived, unfortunately not for Tyre.
    Justice will be served

  2. Every police department in America is guilty of systemic “killing” of citizens rights. A LEO may not be pulling you out of your car (yet) but LE is keeping biased, prejudicial, false narratives in a file on any complaint you make. Or for any reason they like. And you don’t know it until they decide to take your file and go after you for any reason with their false narrative file on you. You have to Right To Know request all PD responses to any complaints, anything they have filed on you. Don’t wait until it is to late. I know. You won’t believe the lies all perfected by LE to work against you.

  3. Not to diminish this murder, if the victim was white it’s unlikely it would have made national news as it wouldn’t fit the narrative. Alternatively, because Tyre Nichols belongs to a protected class, media has this turned this into a frenzy to very successfully drive ratings. Let’s get his mother on the set! Further, broadcast media did everything possible to abet rioting by forecasting it would lead programming.
    Backlash now is, we may discover the black police officers did not fit the same hiring, training and performance standards as the rest of the Memphis department. Plenty of blame to go around.

  4. I can’t bear to watch this. That said, I do wonder just what propelled these cops to beat another person to death. It’s not racism; I don’t care how many leftists want to believe this but it was a murder committed by black cops on a black man.

    So what was it? Many possibilities exist. It could be that these cops were violent and never should have been hired as cops. It could be the Memphis PD is poorly trained and monitored. Perhaps these cops had had it up to here with the ongoing criminality in Memphis and lost it? Or it could just be another example of black on black crime which happens all the time throughout the US. Or a combination of reasons, some of which won’t be politically correct?

    Don’t know what the answer is but we do need answers. And I really don’t want this to become just another reason for riots, arson, destruction and looting by the leftists.

    • Exactly …never should have been hired…yet with the defund the police movement……since what 2020? the people who might have gone into the field are not, and so……those who want power and control who would have otherwise been declined…..are getting in. MOST cops are the good guys and gals…..when being that becomes hazardous ..they choose to not be or retire or go to another sector. supporting police in my opinion is the only way to solve this problem and then your still going to have a bad apple here and there just like any field ………
      i look to at our so called “leaders”……..this is exactly what THEY are leading us to……and its working for them…..divides us and keeps us divided ……..

  5. The cops just ran out of luck. The only reason that they are being held accountable is because they killed that guy. If the guy survived there would be no story.

  6. Okay, I only watched the first 1:50 of the first video, so I have no idea what the cops did. What I did see was a master class in How to Be Killed by Police Officers.

    Rule 1: Assume someone who looks and dresses exactly like you just shot a police officer in the head.
    Rule 2: Do what they tell you, as though it’s a group of armed men who think you just killed one of them.
    Rule 3: If, in the process of doing what they say, your pants start to fall down, don’t suddenly reach to pull them up (i.e. Daniel Shaver’s Rule).

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