Times Standard (Eureka)
Memphis anticipates release of video in Tyre Nichols’ arrest
Authorities on Friday were set to release police video depicting five Memphis officers beating a Black man whose death resulted in murder charges and provoked outrage at the country’s latest instance of police brutality. Family members of Tyre Nichols pleaded for any protests to remain peaceful.
The officers, all of whom are Black, were charged Thursday in the killing of Nichols, a motorist who died three days after a Jan. 7 confrontation with the officers during a traffic stop.
Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told a news conference that although the officers each played different roles in the killing, “they are all responsible.”
Nichols’ family members and their lawyers said the footage shows officers savagely beating the 29-yearold FedEx worker for three minutes in an assault that the legal team likened to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.
“This young man, by definition of the law in this state, was terrorized. Not by one, not by two, but by five officers who we now know ... acted in concert with each other,” said attorney Antonio Romanucci, who represents Nichols’ family.
The officers “acted together ... to inflict harm, terrorism, oppression of liberty, oppression of constitutional rights, which led to murder,” Romanucci said.
Memphis Police Director Cerelyn Davis described the officers’ actions as “heinous, reckless and inhumane,” and said that her department has been unable to substantiate the reckless driving allegation that prompted the stop.
She told The Associated Press in an interview that there is no video of the traffic stop that shows Nichols recklessly driving.
During the initial stop, the video shows the officers were “already ramped up, at about a 10,” she said. The officers were “aggressive, loud, using profane language and probably scared Mr. Nichols from the very beginning.”
“We know something happened prior to this officer or these officers getting out of their vehicles … Just knowing the nature of officers, it takes something to get them amped up, you know, like that. We don’t know what happened,” she said.
“All we know is the amount of force that was applied in this situation was over the top,” Davis said.
Video of the traffic stop will be released sometime Friday evening, Mulroy said, noting that investigators wanted to complete as many interviews as possible before making the footage public. Nichols’ family members viewed the video Monday.
Given the likelihood of protests, Davis told ABC that she and other local officials decided it would be best to release the video later in the day, after schools are dismissed and people are home from work.
Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, warned supporters of the “horrific” nature of the video but pleaded for peace.
“I don’t want us burning up our city, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for,” she said Thursday. “If you guys are here for me and Tyre, then you will protest peacefully.”
Davis also urged calm after the video’s release.