Memphis releases video showing police brutality for 3 minutes beating Tire Nichols leading to his death
Memphis authorities released more than an hour of footage on Friday of the violent beating of Tire Nichols, in which officers held the black driver down and beat him repeatedly as he shouted for his mother me.
The video comes a day after officers were charged with murder in Nichols’ death.
The video shows the police brutally beating the 29-year-old man FedEx workers for three minutes. The Nichols family’s legal team likened the attack to the infamous police beating of car driver Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991.
One officer can be heard saying, “I’ll knock you out. Cameras on him show him raising a baton while at least one other officer holds Nichols.
After the beating, officers brooded for several minutes while Nichols leaned against the car, then collapsed onto the road.
Cities across the country braced for massive protests. Relatives of Nichols urged supporters to protest peacefully.
“This young man, as defined by law in this state, has been persecuted. Attorney Antonio Romanucci, who represents the Nichols family, said it was not by one, not two, but by five officers we know now… who acted together.
Romanucci said the officers “acted together… to harm, terrorize, oppress liberty, oppress constitutional rights, lead to murder”.
Memphis Police Superintendent Cerelyn Davis described the officers’ actions as “disgusting, reckless and inhumane”, and said her department was unable to prove the reckless driving charge caused the accident. stop the car.
She told the Associated Press in an interview that there was no video of the traffic stop showing Nichols reckless driving.
During the first stop, the video shows the officers “accelerating, at about 10 o’clock,” she said. The officers were “aggressive, loud, used obscene language and probably scared Mr. Nichols in the first place.”
“We knew something happened before this officer or these officers stepped out of their car… Just knowing the nature of officers, it takes something to get them excited, you know. you know, something like that. We don’t know what happened,” she said.
“All we know is that the level of force applied in this situation is overwhelming,” Davis said.
Because of the potential for outcry, Davis told ABC she and other local officials decided it was best to release the video later in the day, after schools were closed and people got home from work.
Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, warned supporters about the “horrible” nature of the video but pleaded for peace.
“I don’t want us to burn our city down, tear down our streets, because that’s not what my son stands for,” she said on Thursday. “If you are here for me and Tire, you will protest peacefully.”
Speaking at the White House, President Joe Biden said on Friday he was “very concerned” about the prospect of violence and called for the protests to be peaceful.
Biden said he spoke to Nichols’ mother earlier in the day and told her he would “make a case” for Congress to pass the George Floyd Act “to get this issue under control.” The legislation, which has stalled, is intended to address police misconduct and excessive force and advance federal and state accountability efforts.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said he was “appalled” by the video and that all FBI field workers had been alerted to work with state and local partners, including in Memphis. “in case something gets out of control.”
Court records show that all five former officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith — have been taken into custody.
Each officer faces charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, government misconduct and official oppression. Four of the five officers posted bail and were released Friday morning, according to court and prison records.
Martin’s attorney, William Massey, and Mills’ attorney, Blake Ballin, said their client would plead not guilty. Smith, Bean and Haley’s attorneys could not be reached.
“Nobody out there intended to kill Tire Nichols that night,” Massey said.
Second-degree murder carries a penalty of 15 to 60 years in prison under Tennessee law.
Patrick Yoes, national president of the Brotherhood of Police, condemned the alleged actions of the Memphis officers.
“Events as described to us do not constitute legitimate police work or illegal traffic stops. This is a criminal assault under the pretext of the law,” Yoes said in a statement.
Rallies and demonstrations were scheduled for Friday night in Memphis, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Portland, Oregon and Washington.
New York Mayor Eric Adams, a former police officer, said he and other mayors around the country were notified by the White House prior to the release of the video, which he said would “cause pain and sadness for many of us. It will make us angry.”
Romanucci and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who also represents the Nichols family, called on the sheriff to disband the department’s so-called street crime-focused scorpion unit.
Romanucci said Friday that Nichols “has always been an innocent victim. “He did nothing wrong. He was caught in a sting. This scorpion unit is designed to saturate under the guise of fighting crime, and what it does instead is create a pattern of continuity and bad behavior.”
Davis said other officers are still being investigated for violations of department policy. In addition, she said “a comprehensive and independent review” will be conducted of the department’s specialized units, without providing further details.
Two fire department employees were also suspended.
As state and federal investigations continue, Davis promised to “cooperate fully and fully” with the police department.
Crump said the video shows Nichols in shock, pepper spray and being restrained as he pulls over to a curb near his home. He was returning home from a suburban park where he had photographed the sunset.
Relatives have accused police of giving Nichols a heart attack and kidney failure. Authorities only said that Nichols was experiencing a medical emergency.