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'Saddened and appalled': Windsor police chief condemns Memphis police actions in Tyre Nichols’ death

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Windsor police Chief Jason Bellaire has released a statement condemning the actions of the officers involved in a police-related death in Tennessee earlier this month.

Authorities in Memphis, Tenn., announced a police video will be released Friday at 7 p.m., depicting five officers beating a Black man, whose death prompted murder charges against them.

The officers, all of whom are Black, were charged Thursday with murder and other crimes in the killing of Tyre Nichols, a motorist who died three days after a confrontation with the officers during a traffic stop on Jan. 7.From top row from left, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, bottom row from left, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith. (Shelby County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Bellaire said the “shocking” incident has sparked outrage and renewed discussions about police brutality and racial injustice.

Family members of Nichols pleaded for any protests to remain peaceful.

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told a news conference that although the officers each played different roles in the killing, "they are all responsible."

Nichols' family members and their lawyers said the footage shows officers savagely beating the 29-year-old FedEx worker for three minutes in an assault that the legal team likened to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.

Here is the full statement from Bellaire:

“Dear members of our community,

By now, I am sure many of you have heard about Tyre Nichols’ tragic death following an encounter with Memphis police officers. The shocking incident has understandably sparked outrage and renewed discussions about police brutality and racial injustice.

I was saddened and appalled by what happened, and on behalf of everyone at the Windsor Police Service, I unequivocally condemn the actions of the officers involved. The abhorrent actions of these officers run contrary to everything we believe in and stand for as a police service.

I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Tyre Nichols as well as to the entire Memphis community.

Rebuilding relationships, restoring trust

Terrible events like this impact global opinions on police credibility – and it takes a long time to rebuild relationships and restore trust among our community.

The Windsor Police Service reaffirms our commitment to ongoing engagement with community members, especially those from marginalized groups, to ensure we have the trust and confidence of the people we serve. Sometimes, this means having difficult and uncomfortable conversations about systemic racism that exists in policing and the justice system. These discussions may involve shared emotions of anger, sadness, and uncertainty.

While these interactions are not always easy, they are vital to ensure everyone in our community is safe and feels safe.

Respecting your right to peaceful protest

I understand and respect that members of our local community may want to gather in protest in response to Tyre Nichols’ death. Please know that our police service will work with any community groups who plan to do so to ensure everyone can exercise their rights in a manner that is lawful, peaceful, and safe.

I urge all involved in these demonstrations to not jeopardize public peace, endanger others, or purposefully participate in illegal acts.

We will continue to work with you to keep the communities of Windsor and Amherstburg safe places to live, work and visit.”

With files from The Associated Press.

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