Tonight, we are in thoughtful prayer for the grieving family of Tyre Nichols, the trauma-stricken City of Memphis and our nation as a whole. The Unity Group is saddened and disturbed by the video footage which displays the brutal and merciless assault of Tyre Nichols by 5 former members of Memphis law enforcement. What began as a traffic stop transitioned to become a 21st century lynching. The officers that committed this heinous act must be brought to justice.
This serves as a stark reminder why there is still an ample need for meaningful police reform to mitigate many of the malicious acts of aggression and brutality associated with law enforcement misconduct, abuse, and the extreme excessive use of force from occurring in the first place.
But as the sad instance of Tyre Nichols demonstrates, we must reexamine, reimagine, and redesign public safety in America in order for law enforcement to uphold what should be their greatest responsibility and endearing mission, to “protect and serve.”
It is not lost on us that in the aftermath of the George Floyd demonstrations, numerous law enforcement agencies, the City of Memphis included, did implement new training standards and policies. Nevertheless, what is clear by the case of Tyre Nichols is that there must be a concerted and continuous effort to align law enforcement policies, practices, and procedures into that which supports the general welfare and stands for the public good.
On a local level, we do applaud some of the more practical measures to come out of the George Floyd demonstrations, which includes duty to intervene and the need to give warning before firing a weapon. This was the result of the calls to action and accountability made by the citizen advocates on the ground who exercised their constitutional right to be heard.
On a legislative basis, we need swift passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that has been stalled in Congress more than two years.
Notwithstanding, police brutality, officer misconduct and excessive use of force will remain prevalent because the criminal justice system, the legal system, and the culture of policing builds walls and remains resistant to meaningful change and reform.
Most importantly, the senseless beating and death of Tyre Nichols once again reminds us, we must be concerned about the 'human question' and the faces of justice behind the scales of justice in order to afford both liberty and justice not for one group or entity, but liberty and justice for us all. Again, we pray for peace and comfort for the family of Tyre Nichols and for healing across our nation.
Yours in Abundance,
Unity Group of Chattanooga
Eric Atkins Co-Chair
Pastor Charlotte S.N.N. Williams, Co-Chair