Ahead of the release of police video of the death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy and Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly issued statements Friday emphasizing their goal of bridging the divide between communities and police:
"I send my sincere condolences to the family of Tyre Nichols. As a mother of four boys, I know his death is a devastating loss. Brutality is simply unacceptable and must be eradicated from the culture of policing everywhere.
"I want to assure the residents of Chattanooga that the Chattanooga Police Department is committed to protecting and serving this community with integrity. We want Chattanooga to be a safe, comfortable place for us all to live, work and play without fear of retribution when encountering police.
"The video of Tyre's encounter I'm sure will deliver a shock that will no doubt impact us all. Now more than ever, we have to work together to bridge the great divide in our communities and with the police. And as your police chief, I assure you this remains a primary focus for our department. I am proud of our department's demonstrated commitment to building relationships, and I know that we can continue to build trust in the community while maintaining the pursuit of justice and public safety."
– Police Chief Celeste Murphy
"As Chattanooga's mayor, I offer my deepest condolences to Tyre Nichols' family, loved ones and the entire Memphis community. Mr. Nichols was savagely beaten by officers sworn to protect and serve, in a deplorable act of violence and inhumanity, and as a human being and fellow Tennessean, I am shocked and saddened by this senseless murder. Tragedies like this further fray the ends of trust between the police and the community -- a gap that is made even wider by smaller, everyday injustices that many of us never hear about. It is a tragic reminder that we have a lot of work to do in this country to bridge that gap and rebuild trust.
"During my time as mayor, I have seen first-hand how our officers professionally and compassionately engage the community, even in the midst of incredibly challenging situations, and I know that we will continue to grow that public trust by focusing on great hiring and training practices, and centering the community in our public safety approach.
"But our work is far from over. Trust starts with accountability, and Chief Murphy and I remain committed to holding our police accountable not just for maintaining the highest standards of integrity, but for building deep relationships with fellow Chattanoogans, so that we may better recognize our shared humanity in one another."
– Mayor Tim Kelly