Officials on Friday released heartbreaking video showing police beating Tire Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, earlier this month, resulting in injuries that led to his death.
On January 7, five police officers attempted to arrest Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, after hitting him while driving. State investigators said the incident escalated into an altercation that resulted in Nichols being hospitalized. He died three days later.
The five officers involved, who were fired following Nichols’ death, were indicted by a grand jury in Memphis’ Shelby County Thursday on second-degree murder, among other charges related to regarding the murder.
A series of videos released by the Memphis Police Department on Friday night showed Nichols being punched, kicked, beaten with batons and repeatedly pepper-sprayed by a group of officers.
Shocking footage captured a 35-minute stretch during which the traffic stop fell into a state of beatings, ending with Nichols being placed on a stretcher with potentially fatal injuries.
In videos shot from a combination of body-worn and pole-mounted cameras, Nichols is recorded telling officers “I didn’t do anything” as he was dragged from his vehicle.
After being pushed to the ground – where he was found to comply with officers’ orders – and tasked by officers, Nichols fled. A separate video taken minutes later shows two officers holding Nichols from behind, while a third repeatedly punches him in the face, before a fourth batons Nichols. Nichols could be heard repeatedly shouting “mom”.
Nichols is the father of a four-year-old boy, CNN and AP reported Friday.
At one point, the footage shows Nichols weak and bent on the ground, with police trying to pull him up. I will baton [of] you,” said one officer.
At least eight officers were at the scene.
In a statement released after the footage, President Joe Biden said: “The footage released this evening will rightfully infuriate everyone.” He said those seeking justice should not resort to violence.
There were protests on Friday night in Memphis, near the White House in Washington, New York and elsewhere across the United States.
David Ranch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said of the footage of the attack: “In a word, it’s appalling. “Let me be clear: what is happening here does not reflect sound policy at all. This is wrong. This is a crime.”
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters Friday morning that he had been briefed on the video, calling it “extremely disturbing. . . terrible, from the descriptions I was given.” He appealed to the public for “peace and non-violence” when the footage was released.
Christopher Wray, director of the FBI, said all of the FBI’s field offices have been asked to “work closely” with partners, particularly in Memphis, “in case something goes out of hand. control”.
For Memphis, a city of 630,000 black residents, the incident revived memories of Rodney King’s infamous attack by Los Angeles police in 1991. It was also one of the murders. The most famous policeman in America since the death of George FloydBreonna Taylor and others sparked nationwide protests three years ago.
On Thursday, five former Memphis police officers involved in the arrest of Nichols, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr, and Justin Smith, all black, were charged with seven charges. charges: second degree murder, aggravated assault, two forms of aggravated kidnapping, two forms of official misconduct, and formal coercion.
Bonds are set per person at $250,000 to $350,000.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said in a video statement that “this incident is cruel, reckless and inhumane” and that the public will witness this for themselves once the video is released.
“I hope you can feel how the Nichols family feels. I hope you will feel outrage at the disregard for basic human rights,” she said.
Nichols’ death is being investigated by city, state and federal officials, while the Justice Department is conducting a civil rights investigation.