Washington State Legislative Black Caucus Chair releases statement on the death of Tyre Nichols

OLYMPIA – Today, the Legislative Black Caucus Chair Rep. David Hackney, D-Tukwila, released the following statement on the death of Tyre Nichols, who was beaten by officers of the Memphis Police Department during a violent traffic stop and subsequently died in the hospital of his injuries.

“On behalf of the Washington State Legislative Black Caucus, our condolences go out to the Nichols family, the Memphis community, and all who are grieving this senseless loss.

After what we saw in Tyre Nichols’ horrific beating from the footage of the Memphis Police body cameras, we know that Black and Brown communities in Washington are feeling anger and frustration stemming from their own experiences. Those experiences have been heard in the many testimonies and hearings on police accountability measures passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2021. Hearing from the communities who have suffered the most from police violence is why we have acted, and continue to act, for people just like Tyre Nichols.

Here in Washington, as we have passed bills in the Legislature to prioritize de-escalation by officers, ban and limit dangerous police tactics, ensure independent investigations of deadly force, and build more transparency and accountability between law enforcement and the communities they serve, we have simultaneously watched police violence replayed in the news and in our own neighborhoods. It’s clear that the work must continue.

Although this tragic event did not happen in Washington state, as legislators we have a duty to identify any lessons to be learned to ensure that similar criminal acts do not occur in our state. As a Legislative Black Caucus, we will also be examining the laws of our state to ensure our communities can hold police officers accountable for criminal acts.

Dr. Martin Luther King once said, no one is free until we are all free. I would add that no one is safe, until we are all safe.”