Local Police Departments Speak Out Against Death, Treatment of Tyre Nichols

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Police departments across Connecticut are condemning the actions of the ex-Memphis police officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols.

One former Connecticut police chief saying what is shown in videos released by Memphis Police Department goes against everything law enforcement stands for.

“Police officers aren’t supposed to act that. These weren’t police officers. These were criminals dressed like police officers," former Fairfield Chief of Police Gary McNamara stated.

That was the initial reaction from former Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara after watching the videos released by Memphis police.

MacNamara says starting from the beginning when Nichols was stopped allegedly for reckless driving, the officers in the bodycam video didn’t treat it like a normal traffic stop.

He says from the very beginning officers showed aggression which he believes caused Nichols to panic. He calls the whole traffic stop flawed.

“Even if it is a minor motor vehicle stop, officers should never approach a vehicle that way,” he said.

The Memphis police chief tells NBC News she could not find probable cause for the reckless driving claim.

MacNamara says the second interaction after Nichols ran was the most upsetting part. Officers are seen punching, kicking, and hitting Nichols with a baton multiple times in a span of a few minutes.

“It was not police use of force. It was criminal behavior and shameful criminal behavior and murder to say the least. The individual was murdered, and we all saw that happening,” he said.

MacNamara also criticized the medical response at the scene on the part of the officers.

“They have an obligation to render aid. The incident is over and that spells it out even more. This was retaliatory assault. They didn’t care to provide aid,” he said.

Police across Connecticut are strongly condemning the former Memphis police officers. Connecticut State Police saying the incident “betrayed the entire profession for all of us who put on a badge every day…”

Hartford Police Chief Jason Thody calling the ex-officer’s actions “deplorable and a fundamental violation of the oath they swore to uphold.”

Other police chiefs, such as New London Chief of Police Brian Wright, agreeing with Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis that this was not just a professional failing, but a failing of basic humanity toward another individual, adding that, in addition to condemning the actions of the five Memphis police officers, but also those who failed to intervene and provide care with due regard.

"We can’t expect our community to trust and support us, if we don’t speak out on something as reckless, inhumane, and indifferent as that which occurred on January 7, 2023 in Memphis, TN at the hands of five Memphis police officers. Our obligation and task as police officers is to protect and preserve lives at all costs," Chief Wright said.

“It’s important that law enforcement in Connecticut has that conversation with the community so they know we, just like the community don’t support this action,” MacNamara said.

He fears news like this may cause people to shy away from a career in law enforcement, especially amid a shortage, but says the profession needs good people and continuing to build community trust is essential.

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