‘It doesn’t have to be like this’: Pennsylvanians react to death of Tyre Nichols after video release

PITTSBURGH — Reaction to the release of Tyre Nichols’ arrest video is pouring in from across the country and here at home.

WPXI Legal Analyst Phil DiLucente spoke with Channel 11 after watching the video.

“This is the most heinous, disgusting, troubling, hard to watch video I’ve ever seen between police and a young man,” he said. “We do not know all the facts and circumstances but video, in this instance, does not lie.”

Channel 11 also spoke with Chairman and CEO of the Black Political Empowerment Project in Pittsburgh Tim Stevens. He called the actions shown in the video “brutal.”

“There can be no allowance anywhere in the nation for police officers to use their awesome powers to abuse, beat and at times kill citizens,” Stevens said.

Stevens also says he’s already put in a call to Pittsburgh Police leadership asking them to renew their efforts to prevent something like this from happening here.

Channel 11′s Nicole Ford spoke with Stevens further on the issue:

Senator John Fetterman spoke out on social media Friday night:

Pittsburgh mayor Ed Gainey released a statement on Saturday, stating:

“Tyre Nichols was a father, he was an artist, a skater, a young man who was loved and had a full life ahead of him. Today a mother no longer has a son and a child no longer has his father.”

“My heart and my prayers go out to his family, friends, and the entire city of Memphis. Tyre should be alive today and his murder at the hands of law enforcement makes it clear that our work to change the culture of policing is critical for our city and our country.”

“Black and brown people should never have to fear for their lives over a traffic stop. We must never stop our work to end this injustice.”

“We respect and understand the need for protest and hope that the wishes of the family for them to be peaceful are respected as we honor the life of Tyre.”

U.S. Senator Bob Casey also released a statement Saturday, saying:

“Like the rest of the Nation, I am horrified by the video of Tyre Nichols being beaten by police officers. Tyre Nichols’ life mattered and like so many before him, he died at the hands of those responsible for protecting and serving. My deepest condolences are with Tyre Nichols’ family as they mourn his brutal and unnecessary death.

“There has to be a full measure of accountability for Tyre’s death, and I support the steps that federal, state, and local officials have already taken to hold these officers accountable. But mere accountability is not justice. Justice can only be achieved when our policing and criminal justice system is equal for all. It is long past time to reform a system that has been broken for far too long and cost far too many lives, and we should start by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”

Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Lee Schmidt and Acting Police Chief Thomas Stangrecki issued a statement Monday afternoon, saying:

“Our hearts are with the family and community of Tyre Nichols as they grieve their son, friend, brother and father; lost to senseless violence at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve.

What happened on January 7 was a violent, inexcusable failure by the officers involved.

The swift action of Tennessee law enforcement to investigate and charge those officers makes a strong statement, and sets an important precedent for the future of police accountability.

Additionally, we would like to thank all those who have gathered, and continue to gather, for exercising their right to protest peacefully.

Following the release of Friday’s video, many have inquired whether Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has a unit similar to the Memphis “SCORPION Unit” that was involved in the death of Tyre Nichols and has since been deactivated.

The PBP does not have a street unit like SCORPION, which operated in a capacity to target ‘hotspot’ areas. Such a unit will not have a place in the policies or philosophy of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.

We continue our commitment to ensure fair, community-based policing, based in transparency and dignity for those we serve.”

Stay with 11 News on-air and online as we continue to monitor reaction locally and from elected officials.

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