January 27, 2023

Congresswoman Bush Statement on Police Killing of Tyre Nichols

Washington D.C. (Jan. 27, 2023) — Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) released the following statement after the release of the horrific footage of Memphis police violently beating Tyre Nichols to death.

“Tyre Nichols should be alive today. He should be playing with his four-year-old son. He should be skateboarding and photographing sunsets. But instead, Tyre was brutally beaten to death by Memphis Police officers. And now, instead of seeing the photographs he took, the world watches Tyre crying out for his mother in his final moments of consciousness.

Charging the officers who brutalized Tyre is not enough. Our country will continue to sanction the taking of Black lives with impunity until it embraces an affirmative vision of public safety and dismantles its racist policing system rooted in enslavement and government control. And let’s be clear: merely diversifying police forces will never address the violent, racist architecture that underpins our entire criminal legal system. The mere presence of Black officers does not stop policing from being a tool of white supremacy. 

It is abundantly clear that rogue, militarized policing has never and will never keep us safe. Following a year of record-breaking police killings, prevention is the best path forward. Achieving genuine public safety requires investing in our communities. We need unarmed emergency first responder agencies, 911 diversion programs, civilian traffic enforcement, community-based and -led interventions, safe passage to school and violence interruption programs, behavioral health and crisis support treatment, nutrition support, housing security, and programs for youth and families, survivors of violence, and individuals exiting incarceration or criminal supervision.

St. Louis and I mourn with Tyre’s family and echo their call to disband the SCORPION unit of the Memphis Police Department. I will not stop advocating for a country where our government helps feed, house, educate and support our children, families, and community members, instead of slaughtering them at the altar of white supremacy. Rest in Power Tyre; it is in your name and the name of the thousands of other Black lives killed by police that we will keep pushing to not only end police brutality but dismantle the uniquely American racist and violent policing system. 

To my colleagues in Congress: how many more people have to die at the hands of police for you to join our push for an unequivocal, affirmative public safety agenda that saves lives?”