San Francisco Chronicle
Beating compared to Rodney King’s
Memphis police officers beat motorist Tyre Nichols for three minutes, treating him like “a human piñata” in a “savage” encounter reminiscent of the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King, attorneys for the family said Monday. Nichols died days later.
Attorney Ben Crump said police video viewed by the family on Monday showed that Nichols was shocked, pepper sprayed and restrained after the 29-year-old FedEx worker and father was pulled over Jan. 7 minutes from his home while returning from a suburban park where he had taken photos of the sunset. Another attorney, Antonio Romanucci, said that Nichols was kicked before Crump stopped him from saying more.
Crump said Nichols’ family agreed to investigators’ request to wait a week or two before making the video public to “make sure to give this family what they want most, and that is justice.” Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said in a statement Monday that investigators don’t want to risk compromising the investigation.
The city has been on edge about the release of the police footage because of the possibility of unrest. Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, asked that if there are protests, that they remain peaceful, saying violence “is not what Tyre wanted and won’t bring him back.”