STONECREST, GA—Following the disturbing body camera footage of the attack that claimed the life of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, New Birth Senior Pastor Jamal Bryant is calling for a complete accountability of all Memphis, TN police an others involved in the fatal beating leading to Nichols’ death.
Five black police officers have been charged with second-degree murder, authorities said. The video footage shows police beating Nichols with batons, punching and kicking him after a traffic stop on Jan. 7. He was screaming and calling for his mother, who lived in the neighborhood when the beating took place. Nichols was hospitallzed and died three days later on Jan. 10.
Today (Jan. 30), local media reported that a sixth police officer has been dismissed from the Police Department but has not been charged in the incident.
Despite the charges against the five on-site police officers, Bryant is calling for a thorough investigation to determine the culpability of all first responders and others who failed to protect and serve Nichols.
“When we were participating in national protests following the murder of George Floyd, we were not protesting against White police officers. We were protesting against bad policing,” said Bryant. “It doesn’t matter what color they are if they are not operating in integrity. We have to hold all officers, who are sworn to protect and serve, accountable.”
Bryant issued a call to action during his Sunday worship service encouraging his congregation and community to demand a higher level of accountability for all who threaten the idea and practice of justice.
“We witnessed Black police officers operating in a spirit of White supremacy,” said Bryant. “Thugs are not always on street corners. Sometimes, we have thugs in suits. We have thugs in uniform. If we believe Black lives matter, then we have to hold our entire community to a higher standard.”
During his sermon, Bryant also addressed mothers in his congregation who have lost children to violence. He noted that while his heart and mind remain with Nichols and his grieving family, he is aware that there are many families who suffered violent losses and may not have gained the same attention and acknowledgement.
“It’s a critical time in our community and nation. I’m tired of watching videos that make violence against our people normal. Today, we declare enough is enough,” Bryant said.
To access audio and video from Bryant’s Jan. 29 message, click the following link: https://www.dropbox.com/t/bILOgyM9A8zpaEPY. Video via New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Stonecrest, GA