The following are statements released by police departments in Contra Costa County in the aftermath of the video released of the killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis Tennessee.
Antioch Police Department
An Open Letter to the Antioch Community,
Just as we have made so much progress to mend relations with our community after the senseless killing of George Floyd, we are now impacted yet again by the actions of now former police officers thousands of miles away. I share in shock and disgust with our community over the inhumane killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis Tennessee. What I saw in the video released yesterday is not only contrary to the mission of law enforcement officers to preserve life but goes against basic human values.
The Antioch Police Department has comprehensive best practice policies and training on use of force, duty to intervene, bias-based policing, and de-escalation. Our use of force policy requires all members to recognize and respect the value of human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone. Our officers are required to intervene when witnessing any level of force that is clearly beyond what is necessary. Our policies are available for public viewing on the following website: https://www.antiochca.gov/police/sb-978-policy-manual-training-materials
As we have seen in Memphis, even the best policies cannot prevent senseless inhumane actions committed by those who wear the badge. It is for this reason we employ strict hiring standards, thorough background checks, and psychological examinations of individuals who apply to be within our ranks. Since I became Chief, we have been working to improve our
policies, procedures, and training to ensure our officers are at the forefront of humane, ethical, best practice policing. In an effort to be held accountable to these goals, we are developing a monitoring system to track officer behaviors and will soon roll out a use of force transparency dashboard to provide statistics on officer-community interactions. Our work will not rest there, as we are constantly looking for innovative ways to better serve our community with the utmost respect for the rights of others.
We will always strive to use these senseless tragedies as teachable moments to make us better and improve the way we serve our community. On behalf of the men and women of the Antioch Police Department, we strongly condemn the actions of the former Memphis Police Officers which led to the death of Tyre Nichols. We share in grief with his family, pray
for justice, and humbly ask for peace.
Dr. Steven A. Ford
Chief of Police
El Cerrito Police Department
Last night, I watched the videos released by the Memphis Police Department, depicting the events that lead to Tyre Nichols’ death. The videos showed barbaric and inexcusable conduct by police officers. As an officer, I swore an oath to, first and foremost, serve my community and safeguard lives. These officers broke that oath.
The El Cerrito Police Department sends our condolences to Mr. Nichols’ family. We pray that you will find justice for your son.
Chief of Police
Hercules Police Department
In response to the video released by the Memphis Police Department regarding the tragic death or Tyre Nichols, we are greatly disturbed by what was depicted. There simply is no excuse for the level of force used, and this behavior should never be tolerated in society, especially in the law enforcement community. These five officers clearly acted in contrast to two of the most fundamental duties of the oath they swore to uphold, “Serve and Protect.”
Our hearts go out to the Nichols family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the City of Memphis and the countless number of people who are impacted by this incident.
Chief of Police
Hercules Police Department
Pittsburg Police Department
The Memphis Police Department has released a body-camera video in connection to the assault on 29-year-old Tyre Nichols at the hands of five Memphis, Tennessee police officers.
“This happened half a country away, but what we saw in that video is a concern for all Americans,” said Pittsburg Police Chief Steve Albanese, “the actions of the officers involved is not representative of law enforcement’s chief duty to protect and serve our communities.”
The Memphis Police Department fired the five officers involved who have now been arrested on murder charges. There is no excuse for their actions.
As police officers for this community, we remain committed to emphasizing dignity and respect for all and instilling within our agency a fundamental commitment to the preservation of human life. We remain committed to working together in partnership with community members, advocacy organizations, elected officials, and others to build a future that ensures dignity, security, and justice for all within our community.
Chief Steve Albanese
San Ramon Police Department
Chief Denton Carlson did not issue a formal statement, but he did tweet out the following:
“I watched the videos. They are disgusting and reprehensible. It was inhumane.” – said Carlson
A joint message from Chief Denton Carlson and the President of the San Ramon Police Officer’s Association, Sergeant Mark Holland –
To the Everyone in the San Ramon Community –
We are sorry. The killing of Tyre Nichols was reprehensible and unjust.
Once again, members of our chosen profession criminally took the life of an innocent person. I watched the videos yesterday, and as I mentioned in a social media post last night, they were disgusting, reprehensible, and inhumane. I was appalled by their barbarism and stunning incompetence while performing a simple community member contact and their shocking inability to simply respect an individual’s life.
The actions taken by those police officers in Memphis were unfathomable. When do we, as a profession, arrive at a point where every leader in law enforcement recognizes that some of our systems are broken and demands we make it right? What happened in Memphis, and what has happened far too many times across our country, directly results from fatally flawed systems. Until our industry can unanimously recognize this at a national level, incidents like this will continue to occur. Putting our heads in the sand and saying it is just a few bad apples is no longer acceptable.
Improving organizational culture, universally respecting human dignity, responsible supervision, enhancing officer wellness, and fostering a mentality that does not value enforcement above all else are just a few critical components that will finally bring about change and improve our national approach to law enforcement. Unfortunately, we cannot “train” ourselves out of this hole. It will take a cultural shift throughout law enforcement to make this happen.
As your Chief of Police, it is with immense pride that I, along with Sergeant Mark Holland, President of the San Ramon Police Officer’s Association, report your San Ramon Police Officers are on the cutting edge of these vital concepts of successful policing in 2023. You have our commitment that we will continue to advance and dedicate our service to every member of the San Ramon Community with the highest level of professionalism and integrity.
Not only will we continue to be dedicated to this level of professionalism within our organization, but we are committed to setting the example for law enforcement nationwide. We will work tirelessly to improve our industry far beyond the city limits of San Ramon.
Every member of our organization echoes this commitment, and I cannot thank Sergeant Mark Holland enough for joining me in this message.
To ensure everyone in our community has the opportunity to meet and talk with us about our philosophy and service-based approach to policing, we invite you to join us at an Open House on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the San Ramon Police Department (2401 Crow Canyon Road). This forum will allow us to talk openly and to organically answer your questions. Mark and I will both be there, along with other members of the San Ramon Police Department, and we welcome you to join us on Wednesday evening.
-Denton and Mark
Walnut Creek Police Department
Dear Walnut Creek Community,
I am saddened and appalled after watching the Memphis Police Department’s body-worn camera footage released today. The men and women of the Walnut Creek Police Department stand in solidarity with the rest of the country as we hope for peace and healing, yet again. We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Tyre Nichols.
We put faith in our judicial system to hold all those accountable for both their actions and inactions and measure them equally by the law.
The heinous acts witnessed upon Mr. Nichols do not represent the values, principles, and training of the Walnut Creek Police Department.
Our laws governing the use of force in California are the strongest in the Nation and reflect our commitment to integrity, decency, and fairness to all. We will continue to uphold the Walnut Creek Community’s values and standards and earn your trust and faith in us as your police department.
Chief of Police Jamie Knox: