Statements from the Mayor and Chief of Police on the Killing of Tyre Nichols

Monday, Jan 30, 2023 at 3:39 pm

From the Office of the Mayor

There are no words to capture the sadness and indignation following the murder of Tyre Nichols at the hands of five officers from the Memphis, Tennessee police department, just as there are no thoughts or prayers that can bring Tyre home to his grieving family. 

What we have all witnessed in unified horror is not law enforcement.  “Brutality” – commonly applied to describe unjust police violence – seems too gentle of a word.  The coordinated homicide that occurred was the result of a systemic failure emanating from a profession that should be protecting life and upholding justice, not executing innocent civilians with blunt weapons and senseless rage.  Sadly and tragically, this is an all too common story. While we commend Memphis leadership in acting swiftly to arrest and charge all who were involved in this terrible and senseless act, we know it will never be enough.

Law enforcement is, at its best, a noble and honorable function of society – an essential deterrence against acts of violence and crimes against the innocent.  But when those who are supposed to protect become the criminals, the fracture of trust and the far-reaching trauma it creates erodes the legitimacy of those who serve faithfully and compromises their ability to protect those who need them most.

Bexley’s police department is committed to transparency and its core values of fairness, integrity, respect, and empathy. The men and women of our department are held to the highest standards at all times, with innovative programs and accountability measures being expanded following the recent appointment of Chief Gary Lewis at the helm of the agency.  Today, with Tyre Nichols’ name on our lips, we are more determined than ever to focus on strengthening our values of compassion and humility in service, fortified by a culture of constant self-reflection, empathy, equity, and growth.

Mayor Ben Kessler

From the Office of the Chief of Police

I’m truly saddened and outraged after seeing the videos following the loss of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, and we send prayers of comfort and condolences to the Nichols family. The image of another African-American male losing his life at the hands of law enforcement underscores the lack of trust many have and serves as a reminder that we as a profession must do better. The Memphis community acted swiftly in terminating the officers involved and the filing of criminal charges, but no response can adequately address calls for justice and meaningful reform as the country mourns another loss of life. 

We at the Bexley Police Department are proud to protect and serve, and we affirm that none of us are above reproach and that we all must be held to the higher standard of our core values. The behavior seen in those videos will not and must not be tolerated. I am proud of the Bexley police officers who place their lives on the line every day with tremendous pride and respect as they serve this amazing community, and I am committed now more than ever to equitable and compassionate policing for all.

Chief Gary D. Lewis, Jr.

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june, 2024