White House defends police brutality record as Memphis braces for Tire Nichols video: ‘He’s been vocal’

The White House defended President Joe Biden’s record on efforts to curb police brutality as the Memphis Police Department prepares to release the video of officers in a deadly confrontation with Tyre Nichols.

Memphis police on Friday will release body camera footage of the violent arrest of Nichols, 29, who died three days after police severely beat him during a traffic stop. The department fired the five officers involved in the stop, and they now face murder charges.

Biden called for peaceful protests ahead of the video and repeated his calls for Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Bipartisan talks between Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, as well as former Rep. Karen Bass of California, who now serves as mayor of Los Angeles, fell apart.

Hours before the video’s release, reporters asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about Mr. Biden’s commitment to passing the act, as it did not seem like a high priority at the time. Mr. Biden spent most of his first year in office trying to pass the bipartisan infrastructure law and his proposed Build Back Better social spending bill that died until it was revived as the Inflation Reduction Act.

Similarly, Mr Biden has highlighted the fact that he has increased funding for police through the US bailout, his Covid-19 aid package that ran in the first months of his administration.

But Jeanne Pierre said Mr Biden was focusing on law enforcement and racial unrest alongside tackling Covid-19, climate change and the economy.

“He took action as I just put out, he took action by making a leader who took executive action and did everything he could from — with the tools, and so he took it very seriously,” she told reporters. “And he’s going to continue to be very vocal.”

Ms Jean-Pierre avoided being asked The independent whether Mr. Biden planned to address law enforcement groups about the conduct that led to Mr. Nichols’ death was unacceptable.

Police reform legislation is unlikely to pass in the current Congress given the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Democrats also only hold 51 seats in the Senate, meaning Republicans could filibuster the police reform legislation.

Mr Biden reportedly spoke to RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, Mr Nichols’ mother and stepfather, expressing his and First Lady Jill Biden’s condolences for Tyre Nichols’ death.

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