Statements on the Death of Memphis Resident Tyre Nichols

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The statement below is by Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli Jr. on behalf of the Camden County Board of Commissioners, Camden City Mayor Victor Carstarphen and Camden County Police Chief Gabriel Rodriguez on the death of Memphis resident, Tyre Nichols.

Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli Jr.:

“Earlier this month, an act of senseless violence was perpetrated by five police officers in Memphis, Tennessee. The body worn camera video we watched of Tyre Nichols, 29, who was pulled over on Jan. 7, was shocking and horrifying. This savage act of violence against a member of the Memphis community was heinous and unacceptable. 

Over the past 10 years, the CCPD has become a national model for our innovative training and our department has adopted one of the most progressive uses of force policies in the country. Furthermore, our officers are regularly trained in de-escalation techniques and our sole mission is rooted in preserving the sanctity of human life above all else. We deploy our police officers into the community as guardians of peace, not as a militarized force.

This tragedy has been watched millions of times and sickens all of us. By working together with state, county and local officials, clergy members, nonprofits and residents, we can, as a community, come together to guarantee justice. And, through these unbreakable bonds we can ensure this type of behavior never happens here. 

The CCPD has come a long way in ensuring we grow and nurture better bonds with our neighbors. The body worn camera video we all watched in Memphis has no place in 21st century policing- no one should ever die from a traffic stop. That said, we applaud the quick termination and murder charges being brought against the suspects and will keep the Nichols family in our thoughts and prayers. 


Mayor Victor Carstarphen:

“The senseless violence that unfolded in Memphis, Tennessee continues to demonstrate the strained relationships which still exists between law enforcement and many communities throughout the nation.  The Camden community has witnessed its fair share of tragedy.  I can only sympathize and pass along my condolences to the Nichols family.  Across the nation, we are still seeing reports about black and brown men and women being the victims of excessive force by police.  There are way too many incidents, way too many people being severely injured, and way too many people losing their lives.  This type of violence should not be the norm and is simply unacceptable. 

Nevertheless, I do see a model of progress in our community.  Camden residents, businesses and community stakeholders have developed strong relationships with our men and women in blue.  The Camden County Police Department have lead the way as a national model for community policing.  Camden officers are regularly trained in de-escalation techniques and CCPD have adopted progressive use of force policies.  This progress and the community bonds were built through hard work, difficult conversations, trust building, and continuous engagement. 

I commend Memphis authorities for terminating and filing charges against these individuals for their reckless actions.  It is now important that the authorities conduct a thorough investigation and take the appropriate actions in order to mend the relationship between Memphis’s African – American residents and the police.  I am confident that communities, particularly African-American communities throughout the nation will continue to monitor the situation to ensure a judicial outcome.  This is yet another glaring opportunity to address this issue and bridge relations between police departments and the communities they swear an oath to protect.  I encourage continued dialogue and engagement.  I pray that the family of Tyre Nichols, the residents of Memphis and police department find a peaceful solution to this tragic loss.” 


Chief Gabriel Rodriguez:  

“After following the investigation and then watching the murder of Tyre Nichols in Memphis from body worn camera video released by the Memphis Police Department, I can only say it’s extremely hard to be thoughtful about the actions of these officers. I watched in horror and disgust the excessive force used against an unarmed black man that resulted in his death, which is nothing short of horrifying. No one in America should get pulled over for a traffic violation and not make it home to their family and there is no place in police culture that should be accepting of these heinous actions. At the CCPD we have been working for the last 10 years to build bonds with the community and ensure our officers are guardians and not warriors in Camden city.

We have worked to change the culture of law enforcement by focusing on the sanctity of life and ensuring everyone goes home at the end of the night when there is an encounter with police. Furthermore, as an agency, we have worked hard to make sure residents do not get to know us when we are responding to incidents, but they see us in their neighborhood playing football in the park or hosting weekend basketball games. Nevertheless, we condemn the actions of the officers in Memphis involved in the murder of Nichols and will keep Tyre’s family in our thoughts and prayers as they are deal with the unimaginable.”