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Tyre Nichols: US braces for release of police arrest video | Police News

The United States is bracing for massive protests and public outrage as police in Memphis, Tennessee, are expected to release footage of a black motorist being arrested and beaten in the latest act of police violence to rock the country.

Five Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder, including in connection with the murder of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, who died in hospital on Jan. 10 after he was beaten during a traffic stop three days earlier.

The video, to be released on Friday after 18:00 local time (00:00 GMT on Saturday), was expected to include footage captured by police body cameras, cameras mounted on the dashboards of police vehicles, and surveillance cameras on poles. power lines in the vicinity of the scene of the fatal accident.

Memphis Police Chief Serelyn Davis said the video showed Nichols crying for her mother.

“You will see actions that challenge humanity. You will see the disregard for life [for] a duty of care we’ve all sworn to, and a level of physical interaction that exceeds law enforcement requirements,” Davis told CNN.

Nichols’ death was a reminder of the 2020 murder of George Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Floyd’s murder, which was caught on video, sparked mass protests around the world demanding an end to police violence and anti-African American racism.

The video of the altercation that resulted in Nichols’ death has also been compared to the 1991 Rodney King beating video that sparked several days of riots in Los Angeles that killed dozens of people.

“Tyre Nichols = Rodney King Part 2,” Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing the family, wrote on Friday morning. “The lack of humanity shown by Tyr Nichols is so disturbing on every level.”

The five officers charged with Nichols’ death – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith – were fired from their posts on January 21 after it was found during questioning that they had broken a number of rules, including the use of excessive force.

Four former officers posted bail and were released from jail, the local CBS affiliate said early Friday. Haley remained in jail on $350,000 bail.

In addition to the charges of second-degree murder, they also face charges of aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping.

During a press conference on Friday, along with the Nichols family, Crump applauded authorities for bringing “very important charges” against former black officers. He called for charges to be filed as soon as possible in other cases of police violence involving white officers.

“This is a plan for the future, when any officers, whether black or white, will be held accountable. You can no longer tell us that we need to wait six months to a year, even though we have video showing excessive force being used,” Crump said.

“Beating half to death”

The exact circumstances of the incident remain unclear. After Nichols was pulled over by police, an “argument” ensued, during which the police pepper sprayed him and Nichols attempted to flee on foot, local District Attorney Steve Mulroy said, announcing the charges against the former officers.

“They beat him to a pulp,” Nichols’ mother, RowVon Wells, told CNN Friday. “He had bruises all over his body. My head is swollen like a watermelon. His neck was splitting from the swelling. They broke his neck.

“When I saw this, I realized that my son was no more. Even if he survived, he would be a vegetable,” Wells said.

During Friday’s press conference, Wells said she hasn’t yet had time to mourn her son’s death. “This shouldn’t have happened. My son was supposed to be with me today,” she said.

Rowan Wells, mother of Tyre Nichols
RowVon Wells’ reaction at a press conference in Memphis on January 23, 2023 [Gerald Herbert/AP Photo]

“No mother—not mother, not mother—should go through what I’m going through right now—without a mother. Losing their child because of the abuse I lost my child with.”

The White House said US President Joe Biden spoke to Wells and Nichols’ stepfather Rodney Wells on Friday and expressed sympathy. A day earlier, Biden said in a statement that the family deserves a “fast, full and transparent investigation into his death.”

Biden also urged calm ahead of the video’s release. “While Americans mourn, the Justice Department is investigating, and the state continues its work, I join the Taira family in calling for peaceful protests,” he said on Thursday.

“The outrage is understandable, but violence is unacceptable. Violence is destructive and against the law. It has no place in peaceful protests in search of justice.”

Davis, the Memphis police chief, said she expected those who saw the footage to “feel outraged” but urged calm.

“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,” she said.

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