Tyre Nichols: Atlanta law enforcement anticipates response to Memphis police body camera video

The Atlanta Police Department urged peaceful weekend protests following the release of body camera video of the alleged police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis. 

Four of the five former Memphis police officers charged with murder and other crimes in the killing of 29-year-old Nichols were released from jail on bond Friday. The Memphis Police Department released footage of Tyre Nichols' traffic stop around 7 p.m. on Friday. 


The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement:

"We are closely monitoring the events in Memphis and are prepared to support peaceful protests in our city. We understand and share in the outrage surrounding the death of Tyre Nichols. Police officers are expected to conduct themselves in a compassionate, competent, and constitutional manner and these officers failed Tyre, their communities and their profession. We ask that demonstrations be safe and peaceful."

The Georgia State Patrol is also closely monitoring the situation and sent FOX 5 the following statement:

"We are working closely with the Atlanta Police Department and our other metro Atlanta law enforcement partners. We are monitoring all intelligence and will respond appropriately."

Vince Champion, the Regional Director for International Brotherhood of Police Officers, says their members are trained for protests and as long as they are peaceful, officers expect to just be visible presence. 

"Make sure the citizens and everybody are taken care of, you handle it professionally. If you have to arrest somebody, once that person is arrested, you just put them wherever you need to go, to jail and then you just go back and do your job," said Champion.


An Atlanta Police Department car burns in Downtown Atlanta on Jan. 21, 2023.

An Atlanta Police Department car burns in Downtown Atlanta on Jan. 21, 2023.  (FOX 5 Atlanta)

Champion says he hopes the community doesn’t stereotype all police officers based on the actions of a few.

"All I would ask is that citizens look around and take these as individual people, who are doing individual things. Not, that policing in general is what the problem is," said Champion.

Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat condemned what it called "unjustified actions" taken by the officers accused of Nichols' murder. 

"Cases like this must not only be condemned by the community but also by law enforcement leadership," he said in a statement. "Those who are sworn to protect and serve should be held to the highest standard."

DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said her deputies are on "high alert:"

"We remain in a state of readiness should we need to escalate activity to secure county judicial facilities and to protect staff and individuals in custody at the DeKalb County Jail," Maddox wrote, in part. "We respect our citizens’ right to lawful protest and we will not restrict that right unless laws are violated and the peace of our community is disrupted. We support Governor Kemp’s declared State of Emergency, and we are prepared to respond to any situation when and where we are needed." 

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said in a memo to city employees that his office is in close contact with state and regional partners and the city is not altering operations.

"I am a firm proponent of full participation, community dialogue and peaceful demonstration," Dickens wrote. "Atlanta is the Cradle of the Civil Rights Movement, and the City is working to ensure that anyone who is looking to lift their voice in peaceful protest or demonstration in the days to come is able to do so safely."

Shopping centers like Atlantic Station are also on alert. A spokesperson told FOX 5:

"Atlantic Station continues to monitor social media and receives regular updates from law enforcement to ensure we are knowledgeable of planned and spontaneous demonstrations around Atlanta. The safety of our residents, office workers and guests are our number one priority, and we are in the process of putting additional security measures in place. We are closely monitoring the situation and are working with the local police and our Security team to ensure Atlantic Station continues to be a safe place for all. We will continue to provide updates when available."

The preparations come on the heels of Gov. Brian Kemp declaring a state of emergency and activating the Georgia National Guard following a violent night in Downtown Atlanta. Last weekend’s violence came days after law enforcement shot and killed an environmental activist, who the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said shot a state trooper.

Kemp's order called for the activation of up to 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops to "subdue riot and unlawful assembly."

Friday evening, a "limited number of guardsmen" have been "preposition in Atlanta," the governor's office told FOX 5. About 100 troops were called in to stage in case protests turned into unrest. However, protests seemed to be light.

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About 100 Georgia National Guardsmen stage in Atlanta in case protests turn into unrest following the release of body camera video of the alleged police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis on Jan. 27, 2023. (Billy Heath / FOX 5)

Demonstrators took to Underground Atlanta Saturday to demand an investigation into the death of Manuel Esteban Paez Teran, a 26-year-old activist who was killed by Georgia State Troopers during a sweep on Jan 18. That area is the planned site for the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, or what some critics are calling "Cop City."

Nichols' mother urged Americans to "protest in peace" as the Memphis Police Department is preparing Friday to release the bodycam footage showing the law enforcement interaction that led to her 29-year-old son’s death.