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Wichita police chief ‘shocked and saddened’ by actions of Memphis officers in fatal beating

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) — Wichita Police Chief Joe Sullivan released a recorded message on Friday to share his response to the release video showing the fatal beating of Tire Nicols at the hands of five police officers of the Memphis Police Department.

“I’m sure many of you have seen the Memphis video showing the horrific beating of Mr. Tire Nichols. I’ve seen it too. Like many of you, I am shocked and saddened by the actions of those officers,” Sullivan said in his message, shared about an hour after the video was released. “And I want to extend my deepest condolences to all of the Nichols family.”

Sullivan applauded the Memphis police chief for handling the situation, firing the officers who now face criminal charges. Chief Cerelyn Davis described the officers’ actions as “heinous, reckless and inhumane”.

Court records showed that all five of the former officers involved in the fatal beating were taken into custody.

Each of the officers is charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. Four of the five officers had posted bail and were released from custody on Friday morning, prison records show.

Sullivan said he wanted to assure the citizens of Wichita that his department “stands by you and your anger, sadness, and frustration at this despicable act of violence committed by five badge-dishonoring human beings.”

“I wish I could say in 40 years of policing that this is the first time I’ve seen this type of case. Sadly, it’s not,” she said. “What I can say is that the Wichita Police Department isn’t here just for you. We’re here with you.”

Sullivan said the WPD does not “support defense officers who act as if they are above the law and use excessive force against those they are sworn to protect and serve.”

“We look forward to many great things in this city in 2023. We look forward to continuing to set the standard for how the community and the police work together because the police are the community,” he said Sullivan. “We are first and foremost a community. I want to thank you for welcoming me into your community as your Chief of Police. I look forward to continuing to lead the Wichita Police Department staff.”

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office also released a statement condemning the actions of the Memphis officers:

“The Sheriff’s Office is appalled by the atrocities besetting Tire Nichols at the hands of former Memphis officers. This is an incredible breach of public trust and this office condemns their actions. Former Memphis officers have tarnished their badges and betrayed their oath. It is the mission of the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office to work with the citizens of Sedgwick County by providing effective public service to all in an impartial, ethical and professional manner. We continue to uphold these standards during difficult times and fully support the prosecution of the former Memphis officers.”

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