President Joe Biden called for peaceful protest and condemned acts of violence, particularly in the pursuit of justice, following the indictment of five officers involved in the death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man.
On Thursday, the five Memphis officers, who are all Black men, were indicted by a grand jury on charges ranging from second-degree murder to aggravated kidnapping.
“As Americans grieve, the Department of Justice conducts its investigation, and state authorities continue their work, I join Tyre’s family in calling for peaceful protest. Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable,” Biden said in a statement on Thursday.
Biden also highlighted the growing need to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve, noting that real change happens when accountability systems exist for officers who violate their oaths.
“We also cannot ignore the fact that fatal encounters with law enforcement have disparately impacted Black and Brown people,” Biden added.
Biden said he signed an order to ensure accountability after Congress failed to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Authorities said the bodycam footage surrounding the death of Nichols is expected to be publicly released on Friday. Major cities are preparing for the possibility of protests once the video, which has been described in brutal term by attorneys involved, is circulated to the public.
Nichols died on January 10, three days after being beaten by the five officers during a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee.