WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Less than an hour after the Tyre Nichols police camera video was released, Wichita Police Chief Joe Sullivan posted a video statement to the Wichita Police Department’s (WPD) Facebook page.
In that statement, he says he wants to assure Wichitans the department is “not only here for you, but here with you,” emphasizing a “community-first” approach.
“I also want to ensure the citizens of Wichita that the WPD stands by you in your anger, sadness, and frustration with this despicable act of violence committed by five human beings who disgraced the badge,” Chief Sullivan said.
Chief Sullivan went on to say the WPD will continue to set the standard for how the community and police work together.
“We do not support or defend officers who act like they are above the law and use excessive and unnecessary force against those they swore to protect and serve,’ Chief Sullivan said.
A statement from the Wichita Branch of the NAACP reads in part, “This situation demonstrates the power dynamic and barbaric underlying culture in policing. The Wichita NAACP will continue to work with our local, state, and national government agencies and legislators to champion sweeping change in law enforcement.”
Wichita NAACP President Larry Burks Sr. says he’s calling on Chief Sullivan and the WPD for change.
“This is going to be his first major test of that of course, but we need to, to give him an opportunity to see just what’s going to happen, and what kind of influence and changes he’s going to make because that is definitely going to be something that has to happen,” Burks said.
Community leader Herman Hicks, senior pastor of the Greater Pentecostal Church of God in Christ, says he agrees with how the Memphis Police Chief has handled the situation. He says he hopes other law enforcement leaders will make swift justice the norm, and not the exception.
“You cannot help but wonder why this doesn’t happen with all of the other cases that we’ve seen around the country, and I’m just hoping that what they saw in Memphis, will take place around the rest of the country. It doesn’t matter the color the officer is. If they wrong, they are wrong,” Pastor Hicks said.
Friday, KSN News reached out directly to the WPD and the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office (SGCO) to request sit-down interviews. Both the WPD and the SGCO declined our requests at this time.