Fayetteville and county law enforcement react to the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols

A portrait of Tyre Nichols is displayed at a memorial service for him on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023 in Memphis, Tenn. Nichols was killed during a traffic stop with Memphis Police on Jan. 7. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)

Law enforcement departments in Fayetteville and Washington County on Friday released statements in the wake of the killing of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died following a brutal arrest by Memphis police officers who were shown on video beating and kicking Nichols during a traffic stop. Nichols died Jan 10., just three days after the confrontation.

The savage beating lasted for three minutes in an assault that Nichols’ legal team likened to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.

The five officers were fired on Jan. 20, and on Thursday were charged with murder and other crimes. Footage of the incident was released in four parts by the Memphis Police Department on Friday.

In a statement released Friday at 9:20 p.m., Fayetteville Police Chief Mike Reynolds said the footage was disturbing and painful to watch, and that the Memphis police officers have brought shame to the law enforcement profession.

“Police officers should treat all citizens with dignity and respect, and we should be held to the highest standards of conduct,” Reynolds said. “We are disgusted and disappointed that police officers would so callously treat another human in this way.”

Reynolds said what happened in Memphis is not a representation of the Fayetteville Police Department.

“We remain committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect while providing a safe place to live, work and play for our community,” he said.

Washington County Sheriff Jay Cantrell released a similar statement about 45 minutes later, and said the former Memphis police officers tarnished the reputation of every law enforcement officer in the country.

“Tyre’s senseless death at the hands of individuals who have taken an oath to uphold the law and protect others is completely devastating and makes us sick to our stomach,” Cantrell said.