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Close-up of Police Badge and Handcuffs
Press Statement February 17, 2023

NAACP Reacts to Five Memphis Officers' Not Guilty Pleas

Close-up of Police Badge and Handcuffs


February 17, 2023

Contact: Jonah Bryson,

WASHINGTON - Today, the five officers charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tyre Nichols entered not guiltypleas and were ordered to return back to court on May 1st.  

NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson reacted to these latest developments with the following statement:

"Today's arraignment marks a crucial step towards holding the officers involved in the brutal murder of Tyre Nichols accountable for their actions. However, as more details emerge in this case, it becomes more clear that we are not dealing with a few rotten apples, we are dealing with a rotten tree. This is not just about Tyre's death. This is about Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Patrick Lyoya, and the countless other Black lives that have been taken at the hands of a broken system. The list of names lost to police violence is growing longer, yet the list of laws passed to address these situations remains empty. The fact of the matter is, justice cannot truly be served until our elected officials do their jobs and pass the legislation that is necessary to ensure that these types of tragedies are a thing of the past.

This fight is far from over. We will not stop until Tyre's family, and Black America gets the justice we deserve. We are done dying. As we move towards a trial, the NAACP will continue to support all efforts to hold those involved in Tyre's tragic death accountable for their actions." 



Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF – was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation's first civil and human rights law organization and shares our commitment to equal rights.