WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita NAACP, the Wichita Police Department and the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office have all released statements in the wake of the killing of Tire Nichols, a 29-year-old black man who died in a hospital after the video shows police beating him during a traffic stop.
Five Memphis police officers were fired and charged with second-degree murder, among other charges, in the case.
The Wichita Chapter of the NAACP released the following statement before the video was made public:
A Call to Action for Police Reform, Wichita Branch NAACP Wichita stands in solidarity with Tire Nichols’ family, the Memphis community and the National NAACP. As we prepare our hearts and minds to process another senseless and traumatic police killing, these events have become all too familiar. This situation demonstrates the power dynamic and barbaric culture underpinning the police. The Wichita NAACP will continue to work with our local, state and national government agencies and legislators to advocate for dramatic change in law enforcement. .
Wichita Chapter of the NAACP
Additionally, the following statement was provided by the NAACP National Chapter:
“Our country is preparing once again for the release of yet another shocking video of yet another police killing. If anyone needs to see this video, it’s every single leader in Congress. Sit back in your comfy leather chair, watch the video when it’s released and tell us what else you need to vote ‘yes’ on police reform. By failing to write one piece of legislation, you are writing another obituary. By not passing legislation, you convey your sworn duty to protect the people. We know how much you all will think and pray.
After the video release, there is no need to mention it. Instead, tell us what you plan to do about it. Tell us what you will do to honor Tire Nichols. Tell us what you will do to show her family, her loving son and the entire nation that her life was not lost in vain. We can name all the victims of police violence, but we can’t name a single law you’ve passed to address it.
Wichita Police Department
KSN has requested an interview with Wichita Police Chief Joe Sullivan. In response, the Wichita Police Department declined our request for an in-person interview at this time, but did post a video statement to their social media accounts.
You can watch the video statement in the video player at the top of the page and/or read the transcript below:
Have a good evening. As you know, I’m Joe Sullivan, Chief of Police of the Wichita Police Department. By now 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 disgusted by the actions of those officers and want to offer my deepest condolences to the entire Nichols family.
I want to applaud Chief CJ Davis for his handling of this incident. I also want to assure the citizens of Wichita that the Wichita Police Department stands by you in your anger, sadness and frustration at this despicable act of violence committed by 5 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, but sadly it’s not. What I can say is that the Wichita Police Department isn’t just here for you, we’re here with you. We do not support or defend officers who act as if they are above the law and use excessive and unnecessary force against those they are sworn to protect and serve.
We look forward to many great things we will do in this city in 2023. We look forward to continuing to set the standard for how community and police work together. Because the police are the community. We are a community first and foremost.
I want to thank you for welcoming me into your community as Chief of Police. I look forward to continuing to lead the great people of the Wichita Police Department.
Wichita Police Chief Joe Sullivan
Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, which declined our interview request at this time, also released a statement:
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the upcoming release of body camera video involving five Memphis Police officers using undue force during the arrest of Tire Nichols on January 7, 2022.
The sheriff’s office is shocked by the atrocities in 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 in difficult times and fully support the prosecution of the former Memphis officers
Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office