Our Statement Regarding The Killing of Tyre Nichols
The brutal murder of Tyre Nichols by five Memphis police officers is another in a long line of lives gone too soon at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve. For decades, communities of color have borne the brunt of a broken police system. Yet, even now, with the normalization of body-worn cameras and other recording devices, senseless murders and other egregious policing practices are occurring for the world to witness.
The seemingly blatant disregard for the safety of some community members in cities, even beyond Memphis, raises hard questions:
- Are we enacting reform fast enough?
- What reforms go far enough?
- Is this the product of bad policy, poor training, or systemic failure?
- Is the safety of communities of color truly a priority?
We are in a crisis. In major cities across the country, violence is far too high and police agencies are struggling with retention and recruitment. It is widely accepted that public safety cannot be achieved with the police alone, but rather community members, city leadership, and the police must work together to create thriving, safe communities. But this kind of partnership will not happen without trust…and trust will not be built without police agencies being deliberate about working with the communities they serve. Trust-building goes beyond coffee house meetings and police-led basketball teams. Building trust begins with being intentional about seeking input from community members about how the police serve their communities, being responsive to the needs of community members, and being transparent about what officers are doing in the community.
In Chicago, there are many working diligently to achieve better safety outcomes for our communities. We are hoping that through key accountability channels, every community in the city can work in partnership with the police to create the safe and thriving neighborhoods that everyone deserves.
Right now the country finds itself at yet another inflection point. It is past time that police agencies begin asking the hard questions about how their agencies are working with and not imposing upon the communities they serve, and what policy and accountability measures will facilitate this work.
There is an ever-growing cry for justice, not just for Tyre Nichols and the other Black and Brown families and their communities that have been directly impacted by these terrible wrongs… but for every community that seeks to be free from harm. Because no one is safe until we are all safe.