U.S. President Joe Biden called for calm Thursday, a day before the police department of Memphis, Tennessee, was scheduled to release the bodycam footage of a brutal beating of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old African American motorist, by five police officers.
“Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable,” Biden said in a statement. “Tyre’s death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all,” he said.
Memphis and other U.S. cities are reported to be preparing for possible protests.
Nichols died three days after his encounter with the officers earlier this month.
The officers, all of them Black, have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. All of the officers have been fired.
“While each of the five individuals played a different role in the incident in question, the actions of all of them resulted in the death of Tyre Nichols. And they are all responsible,” David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations told a news conference Thursday.
Rausch, who has seen the video, said he found the officers’ behavior “absolutely appalling.”
The police officers say they stopped Nichols for reckless driving.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.