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January 28, 2023

Pressley Statement on Unjust Killing of Tyre Nichols by Police

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) issued the following statement on the unjust and brutal killing of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis Police Department:

“In this moment, we are faced with yet another unjust killing of an innocent Black man at the hands of police. Tyre Nichols should be with us today.  But he was tragically and violently killed. In response, full and transparent accountability is the mandate.

“Police brutality is a deeply rooted crisis plaguing our communities. The people who perpetuate such violence and the laws and policies that enable them contribute to this injustice. In pursuit of progress, we must be clear about the drastic structural change necessary to save lives and prevent tragedies that repeatedly traumatize Black and brown communities.

“True justice would mean Tyre would be with us today. We must be bold and relentless in pursuit of true systemic change. Without it, there can be no healing nor justice. Our work continues.”

Throughout her time in Congress, Rep. Pressley has championed legislation to reform an unjust criminal legal system and address police brutality and systemic racism.

  • In July 2022, Congresswoman Pressley, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Congressman Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (GA-04) led 19 of their colleagues in a letter urging the Biden Administration to end the transfer of military weapons to local law enforcement through administrative action.
  • In September 2021, Rep. Pressley re-introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to halt the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, which allows for the transfer of military equipment to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement. She previously introduced the amendment in 2021.
  • In May 2021, Reps. Pressleyand Cori Bush (MO-01)led a group of progressives in sending a letter to House and Senate leadership, urging them to maintain and strengthen the provision to eliminate qualified immunity as negotiations for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act continue.
  • In December 2020, Rep. Pressley called on passage of police reform legislation by the Massachusetts state lawmakers. In an op-ed published in the Boston Globe, Congresswoman Pressley and Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo called on lawmakers to end qualified immunity.
  • In August 2020, Congresswoman Pressley and Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo authored an op-ed in the Boston Globe in which they called on state lawmakers to end the unjust court-invented doctrine of qualified immunity.
  • In June 2020, Reps. Pressley and Justin Amash (L-MI) introduced the Ending Qualified Immunity Act following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement.
  • In May 2020, Rep. Pressley, along with Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Karen Bass (CA-37), and Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), introduced a resolution to condemn police brutality, racial profiling and the excessive use of force.
  • In 2019, Rep. Pressley introduced the People’s Justice Guarantee, calls for an end to the 1033 program among other policy recommendations necessary to reimagine our criminal legal system. Additionally, Rep. Pressley cosponsored a series of amendments related to the 1033 program, including Rep. Velasquez’s amendment to eliminate the program and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s amendment to add to the prohibited list of military equipment.