MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel called the death of Tyre Nichols “shocking and disgusting,” and urged people to protest peacefully.
29-year-old Nichols, a Memphis man, died 3 days after he was beaten by police in a traffic stop Jan. 7.
“Police officers must be held to the highest standard,” Keel said in a statement. “The unspeakable actions of these officers erase the many positive strides law enforcement has made in communities across the country in recent years.”
Keel said officers who “choose to betray the oath they are sworn to uphold should be criminally charged and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
“Law enforcement is an honorable profession, but the actions of these five officers tarnish the badge of every officer who is committed to policing with professionalism, integrity, respect, and compassion,” Keel said.
Keel urged people to protest peacefully.
“I understand that people are upset,” Keel said. “I am upset, too.”
Keel said any officer who breaks the law in South Carolina will be held accountable.
Five now-former Memphis Police officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith — were fired for misconduct, and indicted by a grand jury Thursday and taken into custody.
Each is charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct and official oppression. By Friday morning, they had posted bond.
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Kevin Accettulla is the digital executive producer at News13. Kevin is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He joined the News13 team in March 2020 after nearly two years at a sister station in Pennsylvania. Follow Kevin on Twitter and read more of his work here.