Tyre Nichols video: What Memphis police footage shows in deadly traffic stop and arrest
TThe release of video footage of the fatal assault on Tyre Nichols vividly depicts a prolonged and brutal fatal beating that was inflicted by five officers from the Memphis Police Department.
But questions remain that the edited footage didn’t answer, most notably the alleged traffic violation that caused the cops to pull over Nichols in the first place, and what caused the cops to react so violently.
The four videos from the officers’ body cameras and CCTV cameras were filmed between 20:24 and 21:20 on 7 January. It shows a 29-year-old FedEx worker being pulled over, pulled out of his car, pepper sprayed and beaten during the stop.
They are taken from two places: the corner where Nichols was initially stopped, near the intersection of East Raines and Ross Roads, and about half a mile away, on Castlegate Lane, where he is beaten with fists, kicks and batons, and sprayed pepper spray. .
Nichols died three days later in the hospital. Five Memphis police officers were fired and charged with second-degree murder. On Monday, two other Memphis cops were relieved of duty, and three Memphis firefighters — two EMTs and a lieutenant — were fired for failing to give Nichols proper medical attention.
The video shows violent acts and Independent decided not to publish them in full.
Tyre Nichols: Video released showing Memphis police beating black man
Video one: Nichols’ tire was pulled out of the car and hit with a stun gun
The first video starts at 8:24 p.m. and shows a police officer arriving at the intersection of East Raines and Ross Roads, where several officers shout obscenities at Nichols to get out of his car.
One opens the driver’s door, pulls Nichols out and forces him to the ground.
“I didn’t do anything,” Nichols says as officers bark simultaneous and conflicting orders at him.
“Bitch, get your hands behind your back before I break them,” one officer yells. He then yells at Nichols that “I’m going to kick your ass”.
“Alright guys, you are really doing a lot right now, stop. I’m just trying to get home,” Nichols says.
The officer continues to yell “Get down on the ground” while Nichols lies on the ground, trying to comply.
“I’m on the ground,” he replies.
Four or five officers crowd around him, continuing to yell at him.
A white cop pulls out a stun gun and shoots Nichols. It eventually breaks free from the hands of several other officers who are holding it and escapes down the road.
One officer pursues him for about half a block until he reaches an intersection, loud and out of breath.
The officer radios that he has used a stun gun and that the suspect is running.
“Young black male, slim build, wearing blue jeans and a hoodie,” the description reads.
The two officers discuss the possibility of pepper spraying themselves.
“Yes, you sprayed me too, but, fortunately, it didn’t hit me in the eye, but only in the eyebrow,” says the first officer.
“I hope they rub his ass… I hope they rub his ass.”
Video Two: A pole-mounted camera shows Nichols being beaten, kicked and beaten with batons.
Footage from a police pole-mounted surveillance camera captures the attack after officers caught up with Nichols about 800 meters from the traffic stop, at the corner of Castlegate Lane and Bear Creek Cove at 8:33 pm.
In a silent cutscene, two officers are seen holding Nichols to the ground. A third gets out of the patrol car and kicks Nichols two hard times in the head, taking a few seconds between kicks to aim while Nichols writhing in pain on the ground.
A fourth officer then arrives and stands in front of Nichols’ face, as if shouting something, before hitting him with a baton several times in the back and head.
Nichols struggles to his feet.
The same policeman who kicked Nichols while he was on the ground then punches him five times while two others restrain him.
The officer draws his hand back, circles and hits Nichols, landing a powerful blow to the head with each blow.
Nichols staggers on his feet and doesn’t try to resist.
The officer then drags him to the squad car and props up a seated handcuffed Nichols next to the squad car.
He soon collapses to the ground in apparent medical distress.
More officers arrive on the scene, panting and panting. Some shine their flashlights into Nichols’ eyes and make him sit with his back to the car.
One of the officers beats the other with his fist. Separate body camera footage captured the sound of officers standing around and chatting about the pursuit.
“I hit him with straight mowers, dog,” says one of the officers.
Another is heard saying: “I jumped up and started rocking him.”
Medics arrived on the scene at 8:41 pm, but do not begin treating Nichols until 9:00 pm, when someone enters the frame and begins tending to Nichols, who is lying on the ground, seemingly unconscious.
Help was first offered nearly 30 minutes after the attack on him began.
Nichols’ view is blocked by three officers.
The footage provides the only wide-angle view of the deadly attack and gives a much clearer picture of the calculated brutality of the attack than body-worn cameras.
Video Three: Body Camera Shows Nichols Being Squeezed And Beaten
Footage from one of the officers’ body cameras shows the same scene with him as in the second video with sound.
The six-minute clip begins with an officer with a camera getting out of a car while Nichols is being held down by two other officers. The officers take turns hitting Nichols.
One says, “You want to be sprayed again,” before he sprays pepper spray directly into Nichols’ eyes.
Nichols constantly screams in pain and calls for his mother.
One of the officers yells “Give me your hands boy” as Nichols tries to shield his eyes from the spray.
The officer with the camera steps back exhausted to catch his breath,
“Careful, I’ll beat the f**k out of you with a club,” he says as the other three officers holding Nichols move out of the way. He inflicts two blows with a club on the head and torso of Nichols.
The officers continue to yell at Nichols to show them his hands.
As the beating continues, another officer appears. Nichols can be heard groaning and begging the officers to stop.
“That mother***** made me splash,” one of them says.
Video Four: Tyre Nichols screaming for his mother
A 20-minute clip from another officer’s body camera shows the beginning of the beating at the second location on Castlegate Lane.
Footage is blacked out after a few moments as it appears the camera was knocked off the officer who was wearing it.
In the audio recording, the officers repeatedly shouted “Give me your hands.”
Nichols can be heard moaning and calling for his mother again and again. Her house was only a few hundred meters away.
As footage resumes, a bloodied Nichols is handcuffed and propped up against a police car. The officer shines him straight in the eye.
Six other officers stand around discussing the pursuit.
The one who limps and complains that his leg hurts turns out to be the same officer who was seen kicking Nichols in the head.
“I sprayed, you sprayed, (name of another officer) with a stun gun,” one of the officers can be heard saying.
They then discuss how the suspect tried to grab a gun from one of the officers. In the footage released by the Memphis police, there is no evidence of what Nichols is actually doing.
“He had my gun in his hands, that bastard was going to do it,” one of them says, apparently comparing records of possible justifications for the brutal attack.
The officers then discuss the incident that led to the initial traffic stop, with one of them saying that Nichols refused orders to stop and swerved, nearly crashing into his car.
“He stopped at a red light and turned on his turn signal. So we jump out of the car, shit went out of there.”
As they continue to chat, Nichols can be seen falling again. An officer approaches him, and as he struggles with the ground, one of the officers repeats to him, “You can’t go anywhere.”
Officers assume that Nichols was on drugs.
Key context that is missing from the video
Memphis police initially said in a press release that Nichols was pulled over for reckless driving.
In an interview with CNN ahead of the video’s release, Police Chief Serelyn Davis said a review of available camera footage could not find any evidence to support it.
“Even if something happened before this shutdown, we couldn’t confirm it,” she said.
In a separate interview with Washington PostMs. Davis explained that Nichols was initially pulled over by an officer driving a brand new, unmarked vehicle used for surveillance operations that did not have a camera on the dashboard.
She was unable to provide any information about what led to the first altercation, or why the policeman was driving in an unmarked car.
Ms Davis said officers were already in a state of agitation when they stopped Nichols and claimed he was driving on the wrong side of the road.