Joe Biden Says He Spoke with Tyre Nichols' Family as Video Footage of Him Being Beaten Is Released

Tyre Nichols died following an alleged violent encounter with the Memphis Police earlier this month

Joe Biden
Joe Biden. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty

Joe Biden has spoken with the family of Tyre Nichols after his death. Nichols died three days after a Jan. 7 traffic stop turned into an allegedly violent encounter with Memphis police.

In an official statement issued Friday, Biden responded to video footage released by authorities that shows Nichols being beaten.

"Like so many, I was outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols' death," the President began. "It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day."

He said his "heart goes out to Tyre Nichols' family and to Americans in Memphis and across the country who are grieving this tremendously painful loss."

Speaking about the graphic footage released Friday, Biden said that it "will leave people justifiably outraged" and urged: "Those who seek justice should not resort to violence or destruction."

"Violence is never acceptable; it is illegal and destructive. I join Mr. Nichols' family in calling for peaceful protest," he said.

Biden then shared that he talked with Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, and his stepfather, Rodney Wells, earlier Friday.

"There are no words to describe the heartbreak and grief of losing a beloved child and young father," said Biden. "Nothing can bring Mr. Nichols back to his family and the Memphis community. But Mr. and Mrs. Wells, Mr. Nichols' son, and his whole family deserve a swift, full, and transparent investigation."

He continued, "We must do everything in our power to ensure our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all. Real and lasting change will only come if we take action to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again."

Biden added that in light of Nichols' death, he told Congress to "send the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to my desk" after Senate Republicans "blocked" it.

Biden concluded his statement and said, in turn, he signed an executive order "that mandated stricter use of force standards and accountability provisions for federal law enforcement, as well as measures to strengthen accountability at the state and local level."

RELATED VIDEO: Five Former Memphis Police Officers Charged with Murder in the Death of Tyre Nichols

The footage, viewed by PEOPLE, shows the 29-year-old Black FedEx worker when he was stopped by Memphis police on a suspicion of reckless driving.

Following the traffic stop, Memphis police said that Nichols left the scene on foot and that more than one "confrontation" ensued.

The city of Memphis posted four videos on their Vimeo site. The videos appear to show police savagely beating Nichols for approximately three minutes. As Nichols collapses to the ground, he is punched several times in the head.

Officers used a Taser and pepper spray, as well. After the melee, officers can be seen milling around while Nichols is slumped against a car.

Nichols was transported to a hospital in critical condition and died three days later.

At a press conference at Mt. Olive Cathedral CME Church in Memphis, Nichols' stepfather said, "Our son ran because he was scared for his life."

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"I don't care what color — black, white, pink, purple, should [never] go through this," Nichols' mother said at the press conference. "My son didn't do no drug[s], didn't carry no guns, he didn't like confrontation, none of that, that's why this is so hard."

At the press conference, she described her son as a "beautiful soul" who had her name tattooed on his arm. The family also said he loved photography, skateboarding, and computers, per CNN.

The five officers involved in Nichols' arrest — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — were fired and have since been charged with his murder.

All five officers are charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and multiple counts of official misconduct and official oppression, according to online Shelby County Jail records reviewed by PEOPLE.

They were booked into Shelby County Jail, but have since been released on bond, according to CNN.

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