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Indianapolis leaders react to video of Tyre Nichols beating by police

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis area politicians and community leaders watched with the rest of the country Friday night as raw video was released showing 5 Memphis Police officers beat Nichols to death on Jan. 7.

The video is filled with violent moments showing the officers, who are also Black, chasing and pummeling Nichols and leaving him on the pavement propped against a squad car as they fist-bump and celebrate their actions.

The footage emerged one day after the officers were charged with murder in Nichols’ death.

The Rev. Charles Harrison is board chair for the Indy Ten Point Coalition, a group that works to reduce violence in Indianapolis. He described his reaction to News 8: “Horrible, just horrible, from the very beginning of the video, to the part where you know I couldn’t watch it anymore.”

Harrison said one of the most disturbing parts of the video was when the officers stood by and did nothing to help Nichols as he lay writhing in pain after they beat him. “You could tell medically he was in trouble, and they were just standing around more concerned about themselves than Mr. Nichols, and no one went to help him.”

Several local leaders released statements condemning the attack on Nichols.

State Rep. Cherish Pryor, a member of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, was born outside Memphis. The Democrat serving Indianapolis wrote, “Of the five officers responsible for his (Nichols’) death, not one intervened to save his life, a sacred charge of their profession.” This dereliction of duty is a prime example of the need for criminal justice reform in every corner of our country.”

State Rep. Robin Shackleford, a Democrat who is one of several candidates for mayor of Indianapolis, wrote, “When African Americans are killed by police, the killing never occurs in a vacuum. We can no longer ignore the historical link between American policing and white supremacy. Even when the officers at fault are Black or people of color as is the case in the killing of Tyre Nichols they are still acting on behalf of the overarching force that for centuries has victimized Black men, women and children.”

Chief Randal Taylor of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department wrote, “As a police officer and parent, I am angered and horrified by the beating death of Tyre Nichols by five former Memphis Police officers. There is no place for this in our profession or in our society.”

The group Faith in Indiana released a statement on Nichols’ death Friday night. “We recognize and affirm Memphis city leadership’s swift action in firing and charging the officers involved. We also acknowledge that in our city of Indianapolis, that type of leadership has NOT been demonstrated by IMPD or the Prosecutor in the death of Herman Whitfield III. We are still demanding Justice for Herman and want the same level of accountability demonstrated in Memphis shown in Indianapolis.”

Whitfield died after an encounter with IMPD officers in April. Unedited body camera footage released Jan. 15 revealed the moments before and after Whitfield died in police custody.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.