Bishop Stevenson's Message on the Police Killing of Tyre Nichols

Today is a somber day in the ongoing struggle for justice for all of God’s children. As we grieve the tragic loss of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man pulled over by police for alleged reckless driving, I commend to you this call to action from the Right Reverend Phoebe Roaf in the Diocese of West Tennessee. (

Let us pray for the people of Memphis, Shelby County, and the nation, as we grieve another senseless killing of an unarmed Black man. Let us recommit ourselves to walking with Jesus, to fighting injustice, and taking on the hard work of bringing about long-overdue reforms to policing in America.

Bishop Roaf's Message to the Diocese of West Tennessee

To Members of Our Diocesan Community:

Unfortunately, we have become accustomed to violent incidents in Shelby County. We now prepare for the release of the videotaped encounter between Tyre Nichols and Memphis Police Department (MPD) officers on January 7, 2023, which led to Tyre’s death. There is a sense of anger and frustration because of this senseless loss of life.

Local, state and federal agencies have responded quickly to the situation and I am grateful for their efforts, especially MPD Chief CJ Davis. All five officers face criminal charges resulting from their involvement in Tyre’s death.

There is nothing we can do to change what happened. However, it is time to move from discussing these issues to taking action. Changes in law enforcement policies and procedures are necessary so that no one else will have to experience what the Nichols’ family is going through. Episcopalians in West Tennessee are prepared to be partners in this important work.

I am praying for the repose of the soul of Tyre and for all who mourn his death, for the MPD officers involved, for those leading the investigation, and for the city of Memphis. May God’s justice and compassion be with us in the days and weeks to come.

Collect for Times of Conflict

O God, you have bound us together in a common life.
Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth,
to confront one another without hatred and bitterness,
and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Bishop Phoebe