Memphis braces for release of video of Tyre Nichols’s arrest
The city of Memphis and the nation on Friday awaited the release of a police video depicting five officers brutally beating Tire Nichols, a Black man whose death resulted in officers being arrested. charged with murder and sparked outrage over the country’s latest case of police brutality.
Officers were charged Thursday with murder and other counts in the killing of Nichols, a motorist who died three days after confronting officers during a traffic stop on May 7. January.
US FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Friday that he had seen a video of the violent confrontation before local authorities released the video.
Wray and US Attorney General Merrick Garland were urging a peaceful, nonviolent response when video footage of Nichols, who later died of his injuries, was made public.
“What happened in Memphis is clearly tragic. I have seen the video myself and I will tell you I was appalled,” he said.
Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told a news conference that although each officer played a different role in the murder, “they all had to be held accountable.”
Traffic stops called ‘problematic’
The officers, all Black, each face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, government misconduct and government oppression.
Nichols’ family members and their attorney said the footage shows police brutally beating the 29-year-old FedEx employee for three minutes in an assault that the legal team has compared to the infamous police case in 1991 beat Los Angeles car driver Rodney King.
Memphis Police Superintendent Cerelyn Davis described the officers’ actions as “disgusting, reckless and inhumane” and said on Friday that her department had been unable to prove the reckless driving charge. causing the vehicle to stop.
“From what I know today, I believe the backstop in itself is very questionable,” she told Good Morning America.
Davis said she anticipates protests will break out once the video is released. But she urged the community to keep the peace.
“I hope our citizens exercise their First Amendment right to protest, demand actions and results, but we need to make sure our communities are safe in the process,” she said. speak. “None of these are cards that call for incitement to violence or destruction of our community or against our citizens.”
Video will be released after business hours, school
Mulroy said the video of the traffic stop will be made available to the public Friday night, noting that state and local investigators want to complete as many interviews as possible before it’s released.
Davis told the GMA that the decision to release the video Friday night rather than earlier in the day was made after consulting with other local leaders who believe it is best to do it when school is out and people come home from work.
As a precaution, schools in the Memphis area canceled all after-school activities and postponed a school event scheduled for Saturday morning.
Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, told the Associated Press by phone that he and his wife, RowVaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother, discussed second-degree murder and were “fine with it.” They were seeking first-degree murder charges.
“There are other fees, so I’m okay with that,” he said.
Wellses was joined by dozens of supporters on a chilly Thursday night for a candlelight and prayer service at a skate park in Memphis. Nichols, who has a four-year-old son, is an avid skateboarder.
Mother calls for peaceful protest
RowVaughn Wells, who said her family is “grieved”, warned supporters of the “horrible” nature of the video to be released on Friday but, like Davis, begged for protests. peaceful love.
“I don’t want us to burn our city down, destroy the streets, because that’s not what my son is for,” she said. “If you are here for me and Tire, then you will protest peacefully.”
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.
Martin’s attorney, William Massey, confirmed that his client had turned himself in. He 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.
Attorneys for the Nichols family, Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, released a statement saying Nichols “lost his life in a particularly heinous way, demonstrating the desperate need for change and reform to ensure make sure this violence stops happening during low-threat procedures, like in this case, a traffic stop.”
At the White House, US President Joe Biden said the Nichols family and the city of Memphis deserve “a prompt, complete and transparent investigation.”
“Public trust is the foundation of public safety, and today there are still too many places in America where trust is frayed or broken,” Biden said in a statement.
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.
Police said Nichols was stopped for reckless driving and at one point fled the scene.