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Chicago Urban League and Business Leadership Council Issue Joint Statement Ahead of Release of Video of the Beating of Tyre Nichols by Memphis Police Officers

Karen Freeman-Wilson, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, and Charles Smith, Chairman of the Business Leadership Council, issued the following joint statement:

“Today we anticipate footage from Memphis, Tennessee, of Tyre Nichols being brutally beaten by five individuals who were sworn Memphis Police Department officers at the time of this horrific act. First, it is important to remember that Tyre was a human being—a son, father, brother and a young Black man who was loved and had promise. While the perpetrators of this act have been charged with murder, this incident is a tragic reminder of how important it is to hold bad actors to account in every city.

In the city of Chicago, our community has seen more than its share of police brutality. Quite frankly, one incident is too many, but the names of Laquan McDonald, Quintonio LeGrier and others remain in our hearts and minds. We have also experienced frustration with the pace of progress as the Chicago Police Department works to comply with the consent decree. The imperative of permanent change and the fleeting nature of Band-Aid approaches require an equal dose of deliberation and diligence.

As this video is released, we add our voices and energy to that of Tyre Nichols’ mother to urge peaceful protest and to vow our intention to do more. We also underscore the urgency of changes in policies, procedures, and training at as well as continued commitment to community-focused responses to the challenges of safety, disinvestment and disenfranchisement that face our citizens. We encourage continued vigilance as CPD continues to measure itself against the consent decree.

As two long-standing organizations that support the advancement and achievement of Black people, we understand that the pursuit of economics, education and other worthwhile endeavors is useless unless we all feel safe and protected. Constitutional policing—policing that meets the complex needs of every community—plays a huge role in this process, and we remain committed to this goal.”



About the Chicago Urban League

Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League works to achieve equity for Black families and communities through social and economic empowerment. For more information, visit Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About the Business Leadership Council

BLC is Chicago’s premier Black business organization of more than 120 of Chicago’s Black business leaders and entrepreneurs representing over 25 industries.