News Release

Statement from the Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar on the Killing of Tyre Nichols

Washington DC (Jan. 28, 2023) – In the wake of the brutal killing of Tyre Nichols at the hand of the Memphis police, NACDL leaders issued the following statements: 

NACDL President Nellie L. King stated:

“As the investigation continues into the death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of five members of the Memphis Police Department, NACDL urges swift action to reform law enforcement practices and procedures. Our nation’s law enforcement machinery has become militarized, patrolling the streets of minority communities with little oversight or accountability. NACDL calls on policymakers to demonstrate leadership and courage, rather than succumbing once again to political fearmongering and stalemate. True public safety requires radical transformation of the institution of policing, which remains entangled in its racist roots.”

NACDL President Elect Michael P. Heiskell stated: 

"This heart-wrenching video reveals the brutal mindset of law enforcement officers who have apparently been empowered and emboldened to respond to a simple traffic stop in this incomprehensible manner in the neighborhoods of our Black and Brown citizens. ‘Specialized units’ such as Memphis’ SCORPION terrorize Black communities while purporting to bring ‘peace.’ There is no peace for Tyre’s loved ones, only unimaginable grief. As a nation, we cannot allow these unconscionable policing practices to continue. NACDL calls upon law enforcement leaders to immediately end these aggressive tactics implemented in the name of ‘combating crime.’"


Jessie Diamond, NACDL Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (202) 465-7647 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

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