Joe Biden said he was “outraged and deeply pained” after he saw the video released by the Memphis police department showing the beating of Tyre Nichols. The 29-year-old man was severely beaten, hit with pepper spray, and tased by five black police officers after he was pulled over in a traffic stop.
“Like so many, I was outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols’ death,” Biden said in a statement released shortly after the video was made public. “It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day.”
The officers have already been fired, arrested, and charged. But for Biden and activists who are trying to make a political issue out of this tragedy, that doesn’t matter.
“My heart goes out to Tyre Nichols’ family and to Americans in Memphis and across the country who are grieving this tremendously painful loss,” Biden said. “The footage that was released this evening will leave people justifiably outraged. Those who seek justice should not resort to violence or destruction. Violence is never acceptable; it is illegal and destructive. I join Mr. Nichols’ family in calling for peaceful protest.”
Biden said Nichols’ family deserves a “swift, full, and transparent investigation,” and he reiterated his calls for Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would enact reforms to try and curb racial profiling and tie federal aid to officer conduct.
White House officials held a call earlier Friday with mayors from 16 major cities to discuss preparations for possible protests after the footage was released and outline how the federal government could assist.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has some commendable reforms like ending chokeholds and carotid holds (at least until police are trained in how to use them) and creating a national misconduct registry to prevent police officers who were fired from being hired somewhere else.
But most of the proposed legislation would hog-tie police and bury them in paperwork. GOP Senators Tim Scott and Rand Paul have a much more realistic package of reforms but their proposals were rejected by Democrats who are more interested in catering to their left-wing activist base than in truly reforming police departments.