NEWARK, N.J. – Philip R. Sellinger, United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, issued the following statement today:
Like so many around the country, we are deeply disturbed by the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Tyre Nichols. Shortly after his death, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Tennessee and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division opened a criminal civil rights investigation. We express support for our colleagues who are working hand in hand with the FBI and other law enforcement partners. We have no doubt that their investigation will be thorough and methodical, and they will make decisions based on the facts and the law. In addition to the federal investigation, several officers are now facing prosecution for state charges.
We appreciate the significant public interest in this matter. We want to make clear that the U.S. Attorney’s Office respects the right of all people to assemble and protest peacefully. As Tyre Nichols’ family has urged, we urge that any protests remain peaceful and nonviolent.
We will also continue to protect civil rights and work to ensure justice for all in New Jersey. Where law enforcement officers abuse their authority by violating the constitutional rights of our citizens, it undermines all other law enforcement officers who lawfully perform their duties with dignity and respect. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has prioritized civil rights investigations and prosecutions of any public employee who violates this public trust.
Last year, I created a Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the sole focus of enforcing and protecting federal civil rights. Individuals who believe they may have been victims of civil rights violations may file a complaint with the U.S Attorney’s Office at http://www.justice.gov/usao-nj/civil-rights-enforcement/complaint or call the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Hotline at (855) 281-3339.