White House officials speak with mayors ahead of possible protests over Tyre Nichols footage
White House officials on Friday held a call with roughly 15 mayors to brief them on preparations to give federal support in response to demonstrations that may stem from the release of footage of police beating of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died after a traffic stop earlier this month.
White House homeland security adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall and senior adviser to the president Julie Rodriguez spoke with the mayors, urging them to remain in regular contact and emphasizing the need for protests to remain peaceful.
“Participating mayors shared their perspectives on how important it is to recognize the pain felt by communities across this country, be prepared in advance with a game plan to provide adequate community support, and to reinforce the importance of peace and calm during these difficult moments,” the White House said in a readout of the call.
Participants included mayors from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York City, Seattle, Los Angeles, Cleveland, St. Louis and Baltimore. Sixteen mayors joined the call, the White House said.
President Biden is spending the weekend at Camp David in Maryland. Before departing the White House, he told reporters it was important that any demonstrations in response to the footage remain peaceful. He noted that Nichols’s mother has asked that demonstrations stay nonviolent.
“I’m obviously very concerned about it. But I think she has made a very strong plea. She’s obviously in enormous pain,” Biden said.
Biden earlier Friday spoke with Nichols’s mother and stepfather and praised their courage while offering his condolences on the loss of their son.
Footage of Nichols’s beating is expected to be released on Friday night, and state, federal and local officials in Memphis, Tenn., have expressed concern about public reactions to the video.
The five now-former Memphis Police officers involved in the incident were charged with second-degree murder and other offenses on Thursday. All five men, who are all Black, were fired from the department.
Several officials at the federal, state and local level have described the video footage as horrific and appalling, with some officials comparing it to the Rodney King video from 1991, when grainy footage showed the man being beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers.
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