ATLANTA (WSAV) – Governor Brian P. Kemp has issued a statement on the killing of Tyre Nichols, who was severely beaten during a traffic stop in Memphis which resulted in his death.

“Marty, the girls, and I were truly shaken and deeply saddened by the footage of events that led to Tyre Nichols’ tragic death. We are praying for his family and community during this time of heartbreak. As citizens express their grief and reactions to his killing, the state continues to respect the right of peaceful protest,” stated Kemp in a press release.

Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was beaten by Memphis police officers for roughly three minutes on the evening of Jan. 7, after he was stopped, just a few minutes from his home, for what the police initially said was reckless driving.

The stop escalated into a violent confrontation that ended with Nichols hospitalized in critical condition. Three days later, he died.

Five police officers, all of whom are also Black, have been fired and were charged on last Thursday with various felonies, including second-degree murder. Two other Memphis Police Department officers and two sheriff’s deputies have been taken off duty, and three Fire Department employees have been fired.

President Biden also issued a statement saying in part, “We must do everything in our power to ensure our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all. Real and lasting change will only come if we take action to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again.”

The president said he called on Congress to send the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to his desk.

“When Senate Republicans blocked that bill, I signed an executive order that mandated stricter use of force standards and accountability provisions for federal law enforcement, as well as measures to strengthen accountability at the state and local level.”