Tyre Nichols killing: Memphis braces as five ex-officers charged with murder over father-of-one who was beaten like ‘a human pinata’ | US News
A grand jury indicted five former police officers on murder and other charges in connection with the death of Tyre Nichols.
President of the U.S.A Joe Biden called for peaceful protests following Thursday’s allegations.
Nichols, 29, died in hospital three days after confrontation during traffic stop in the American city of Memphis, TennesseeJan. 7.
The father of one of them was arrested after he was stopped for reckless driving, after which the police allegedly beat him for three minutes, police said.
The five black officers involved in the arrest were subsequently fired after a police investigation found they used excessive force or failed to intervene and assist him.
Officials are expected to release CCTV footage of the incident on Friday evening.
“We are here today because of a tragedy that deeply hurt one family, but also all of us,” District Attorney Steve Mulroy said at a press conference.
He added that the five officers were charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and misconduct.
The Memphis Police Department identified them as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith, all black and between 24 and 32 years old.
Each officer served in the department for two and a half to five years and was fired last Saturday.
Meanwhile, two Memphis fire officials involved in the response were also relieved of their duties during the investigation, a department spokesman said earlier this week.
President Biden said in a statement, “Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable.
“Tyr’s death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment and dignity for all.”
Memphis Police Chief Serelyn Davis said Wednesday that other police officers are under investigation for police violations.
In a video posted to YouTube, she asked to remain calm when the camera footage is made public.
“I expect you to feel the same as the Nichols family. I expect you to be outraged at the neglect of basic human rights,” she said.
“I expect our citizens to exercise their First Amendment right to protest and demand action and results, but we must keep our community safe in the process.”
Several recent incidents of police brutality against blacks in the US have sparked outrage and calls for police reform.
Second-Degree Murder Will Significantly Live Up to Public Expectations
America has been here before. A black man died at the hands of the police, the brutality is captured on camera.
Rodney King and George Floyd are just two names that define a deadly dysfunction in an institution that exists to protect and serve.
Now let’s add Tyra Nichols – 29 years old, father and family man, worked at FedEx and was fond of skateboarding. “No one is perfect,” said his mother, RouWon. But he was damn close.
We are told that the events leading up to his death are contained in an hour-long video, with multiple angles of what was seen as a brutal attack.
A lawyer for the Nichols family said he was beaten “like a human piñata”. The release of the footage on Friday night is shrouded in a sense of dread.
Experience shows that this is shocking video content that can provoke violent street protests, and Memphis is aware of the danger. This explains why the preparation for the release of the footage was organized around the accusations of the police officers involved.
In a place where the public is demanding accountability, being charged with second-degree murder will go a long way in meeting expectations. Second-degree murder accuses officers of knowingly killing Mr. Nichols.
What difference does it make that five men in uniform were black? Perhaps. Time will tell if this will play out, and if so, in what way, a wider public outcry.
Much of the reaction so far has centered on the power that the police have and the tendency to abuse it with deadly consequences. Evidence of this will soon be revealed in the form of video – and Memphis is ready.
On Monday, the Nichols family, along with their lawyer Ben Crump, watched police footage that compared the beating to the 1991 LAPD attack on Rodney King, which was filmed and prompted protests and police reforms.
“All this time he was defenseless. He was a living piñata for these cops,” Antonio Romanucci, Crump’s co-lawyer, told reporters.
Mr Crump said Nichols’ last words heard on the video were about him calling his mother three times.