The Grizzlies issued a statement Friday, ahead of their game against the Timberwolves in Minnesota, addressing the release of body cam video showing the recent killing of 29-year-old Memphis resident Tyre Nichols at the hands of five police officers.
In response to the events and the release of the graphic video on Friday, the Grizzlies shared a message to Nichols’s family and the city of Memphis along with the hashtag, #JusticeForTyre.
“We are distraught to find ourselves dealing with a needless loss of life due to police brutality, and this time it was one of Memphis’s own,” the statement began. “We’re thinking of the Nichols family and friends, and share the pain being felt throughout our community. So, let’s support each other and respect how our fellow Memphians are coping. We have faith in this city and our power to heal.
“To the Nichols family and friends, we offer our deepest sympathies and condolences for your loss.”
Nichols, who was Black, died Jan. 10, three days after he was severely beaten for three minutes by officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith—all of whom are Black—during a traffic stop Jan. 7. On Thursday, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy announced all five officers, who were fired on Jan. 20, had been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
Various demonstrations are reportedly scheduled to take place around the country on Friday and over the weekend in response to Nichols’s death and Memphis police’s release of the graphic footage, with some believing the public response to yet another act of police brutality could incite violence in some areas. Memphis, Atlanta, New York City and Minneapolis, the city where George Floyd’s 2020 death while in police custody ignited waves of nonviolent and violent protests, are among the cities preparing for demonstrations.
With Friday’s game against the Grizzlies scheduled to take place at the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis, the Timberwolves issued a brief statement declaring the team and city have taken the necessary safety measures to ensure the game will have a safe environment.
“We are working closely with [Minneapolis Community Safety] Commissioner Dr. Cedric Alexander, the Office of Community Safety, and the NBA. Through this joint effort, we are confident that Target Center will be a safe venue for our fans and players,” the organization said, via TNT’s Chris Haynes.
The Grizzlies and Timberwolves are scheduled for tipoff at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV.