National Network to End Domestic Violence Statement on Murder of Tyre Nichols
January 30, 2023
A statement from Deborah J. Vagins, President & CEO, National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV):
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) mourns the death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who was brutally beaten and killed by Memphis law enforcement officers following a traffic stop earlier this month. These acts of violence have caused a family to lose their son and brother, and a young boy to grow up without his father.
We grieve with Tyre Nichols’ family and with all families and communities who have lost loved ones at the hands of police. Black people are all too often harmed through interactions with law enforcement and the criminal legal system, including interactions purported to be “routine,” like traffic stops. Research shows that traffic stops disproportionately impact Black drivers, who are 63% more likely to be stopped by police even though, as a whole, they drive 16% less. Taking into account less time on the road, Black people are about 95% more likely to be stopped than white people. Black drivers are also 115% more likely to be searched during a traffic stop, compared to white drivers—even though illegal items are more likely to be found in white drivers’ cars. Maya Wiley, President & CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, reminds us of the murders of Daunte Wright, Patrick Lyoya, and Sandra Bland—whose encounters with police all began with traffic stops.
Despite widespread protests and calls for police reform, especially following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, our country’s system of law enforcement continues to terrorize Black Communities and other Communities of Color. Our work to end domestic violence cannot be separated from police violence and other state-sanctioned violence. The mainstream of our movement has, for decades, relied on law enforcement and the broader carceral system for responding to domestic violence and enforcing domestic violence-related laws, but this is not—and has never been—a consistently safe, realistic option for survivors of color, including Black survivors.
NNEDV strives to follow the lead of Black advocates and Black-led organizations within and beyond our movement, as we examine the role of policing and the criminal legal system, the harm these institutions have caused, and the work yet to be done. We are grateful to learn from those who imagine a better world as they build restorative and transformative systems that center survivors of trauma and abuse, rather than perpetuating violence. And we recommit ourselves to these and other racial justice initiatives so that we may finally create a world without violence.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) represents the 56 state and U.S. territorial coalitions against domestic violence. NNEDV is a social change organization with a mission to create a social, political, and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists. NNEDV works to make domestic violence a national priority, change the way society responds to domestic violence, and strengthen domestic violence advocacy at every level.