I have watched with much sadness the events surrounding the death of Brandon Webber in Frayser this week. I have withheld making a public statement until now because, in my experience, initial reports are often filled with false rumors. It will still be some time before all the facts are revealed, but I want to state the following clearly.

I fully support our law enforcement officers in their efforts to keep our community safe.

Criminal acts of violence should not be tolerated anywhere or at any time.

Violence against law enforcement officers, journalists, and innocent bystanders is never warranted.

The killing of members of our community is always a tragedy, no matter the allegations against the person killed.

The disproportionately high rate of killing of African-American young men by all parties is an issue that we need to continue to address as a community, a state, and a nation.

It is understandable for the Frayser community and others to be saddened and outraged at the number of African-American young men who lose their lives.

I trust the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to conduct an independent, fair investigation of the death of Brandon Webber.

I’m proud of our bi-partisan work to ensure that officer-involved shootings are investigated by the TBI. Investigation by an independent body ensures that it is fair and that it can be trusted by the community.

As a state Senator, I believe my role in this situation is to be in contact with the TBI to ensure that this investigation occurs as fairly and as quickly as possible. To that end, I have been in contact with the bureau and will continue to be as this situation develops.

My thoughts and prayers are with all involved.