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January 31, 2023

Statement of ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross Re: Killing of Tyre Nichols

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31, 2023 – The American Bar Association joins the nation in once again mourning a senseless loss of life as a result of inexcusable police actions. Tyre Nichols’ killing in Memphis is the latest in what has been a horrific number of attacks, injuries and deaths against people of color by some members of the very groups sworn to protect them.

The ABA is gratified that the police department and district attorney have moved swiftly to punish and prosecute those involved. But more action is necessary.

The ABA will continue to advance policies that call for governments to track the use of lethal force by members of law enforcement in a collective database to improve accountability. It will push for independent investigations of alleged police misconduct and support the use of an objective standard to determine whether use of force is excessive.

Through the Legal Education Police Practices Consortium, the ABA is working to eliminate bias in how the law is applied by leveraging the ABA’s expertise with that of 60 ABA-accredited law schools to collaborate on projects that develop and implement better police practices, advance reforms that meet the needs of local communities and protect the safety and security of all peoples, including police officers.

The ABA remains committed to advancing policies that promote a system of law enforcement that upholds the rule of law, operates free of bias and ensures that all of its members respect and serve all people. We all have much more work to do.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.