WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said he was “very concerned” about the prospect of violence, but called for protests over the death of Tyre Nichols to remain peaceful.
Speaking Friday at the White House before departing for Camp David, the president reflected on his call earlier with Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells.
“I’m obviously very concerned about it,” Biden said when asked if he was worried about violence, “but I think she has made a very strong plea. She’s obviously in enormous pain.”
Biden said that “innocent lives” were at stake Friday as the country awaited the release of police footage of depicting five Memphis officers beating Nichols during a traffic stop.
NEW YORK — In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams, a former police officer, said he and other mayors across the country had been briefed by the White House in advance of the video’s release, which he said would “trigger pain and sadness in many of us. It will make us angry.”
He urged demonstrators to “respect the wishes of Mr. Nichols’ mother. If you need to express your anger and outrage, do so peacefully. My message to the NYPD has been, and will continue to be, to exercise restraint.”
Adams, who during his years as a New York Police Department officer co-founded an organization that advocated for diversity in policing and against abuses of power, said he “felt betrayed” by the officers charged in the Memphis death of Nichols.
“Any officer who engages in violence and brutality tarnishes all the work we have done to keep communities safe,” he said. He added: “They make it harder for the brothers and sisters in uniform to accomplish the incredible work they do, day in and day out.”