Statement from WJPD Chief Ken Wallentine on the Death of Tyre Nichols
January 27, 2023 – View PDF
Statement from West Jordan Police Chief Ken Wallentine on the death of Tyre Nichols:
As a police officer of more than forty years and your Police Chief, I unequivocally condemn the circumstances that resulted in the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, after a confrontation with five police officers.
Each of the five officers involved has been fired, criminally charged, arrested and jailed. Any person accused of a crime in this nation is absolutely entitled to a presumption of innocence. In this case, however, I trust in the judgment of my police colleague in Tennessee, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch, who said the “fatal encounter was not proper policing” and in the judgment of Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis, who promptly fired the officers after her review of the evidence.
There is no justification for the totality of force inflicted on Mr. Nichols. None. Nor can anyone excuse the failure of each one of the officers present to intervene and protect Mr. Nichols from unnecessary force.
Police officers take an oath, a sacred promise, to protect and to serve. These officers violated that oath. In our Department we speak and believe that “you matter like I matter.” Each of our officers is trained in wide range of force options designed to minimize force and injury. Every West Jordan Police Officer is certified in Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement in effective intervention to protect safety, preserve peace, and improve our policing. We police a community of humans with a police force of humans and we know that there will be mistakes. What happened to Tyre Nichols was far beyond the scope of a reasonable mistake; it was just disgraceful and wrong.
We are committed to policing with fairness and equity. Let me be clear: There is no room in our Police Department for the kind of brutality inflicted on Tyre Nichols. We do the best that we can every day. When we get it wrong, we admit it and we do better. Each of our officers is receiving a special reminder from the Chief today, reaffirming our training and our culture of equity and fairness and our unique Department-wide methods and practice of effective intervention.
You’ve honored me with invitations into your faith communities and homes, to listen to your civic and social groups, and foster friendships. Thank you. I take very seriously the responsibility of being your police chief. I am proud of the men and women serving you as West Jordan Police Officers. They join me in respecting the oath that we took to serve you and to protect you. Thank you for trusting us with your safety.
Chief of Police