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Police chiefs condemn fatal beating in Memphis

Macomb Police Chief Jerel Jones (left) and Galesburg Police Chief Russ Idle.
Jones photo by Rich Egger; Idle photo courtesy of the City of Galesburg
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Macomb Police Chief Jerel Jones (left) and Galesburg Police Chief Russ Idle.

The police chiefs in Macomb and Galesburg are condemning the conduct of officers in Memphis, Tenn., who were involved in the deadly beating of a 29-year old Black man during a traffic stop.

Memphis police officers stopped Tyre Nichols on suspicion of reckless driving last month. They used a stun gun, a baton, and their fists during the attack.

Nichols died three days later.

Five officers have been indicted and jailed, while other officers have been relieved of their duty while the investigation into the case continues.

In a social media post, Macomb Police Chief Jerel Jones called the beating “horrific and disheartening.” He said everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

Jones told Tri States Public Radio the attack does not reflect what the law enforcement profession is about.

“It hurts my heart to see what took place by those officers,” he said.

Jones said the beating was unacceptable behavior for law officers or anyone else.

“We have to understand the importance of the value of life. If you don’t have that value as an individual, that’s an issue,” Jones said.

Jones said all police departments should strive to forge positive relationships with the people in their communities.

Galesburg Police Chief Russ Idle also used social media to respond to the attack. He called it appalling and indefensible.

Idle said the officers involved in the attack “betrayed their oath of office, disgraced the law enforcement profession, and brought shame on the officers across the nation who work selflessly each day to protect their communities.”

Idle said he remains committed to emphasizing dignity and respect for all.

“But we must, and will, do more,” he said. “We must remain committed to working together in partnership with community members, advocacy organizations, elected officials, and others to build a future that ensures dignity, security, and justice for all.”

Both chiefs said their thoughts go out to Nichols’ family, friends, and others impacted by the attack.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.