Facebook/Deandre Nichols/via REUTERS
- Tyre Nichols’ arrest video is shocking, the Memphis police chief warned the public.
- Nichols died after 5 police officers beat him at a traffic stop, family attorneys said.
- The body cam video is due to be made public on Friday.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said that she expects a strong reaction to the body cam footage of the arrest and beating of Tyre Nichols, who died three days later. The police department is preparing to release the video on Friday.
“This incident was heinous, reckless, and inhumane, and in the vein of transparency when the video is released in the coming days, you will see this for yourselves,” she said in a statement released late on Wednesday.
“I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels, I expect you to feel outrage in the disregard of basic human rights, as our police offers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video.”
Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was stopped by police at a traffic stop on January 7, and was beaten by officers for three minutes, attorneys for his family said. He died in hospital three days later.
Nichols’ family and their lawyers were allowed to privately view the body cam footage of Nichols’ arrest, the Memphis police said.
On Monday, after viewing the footage, attorney Antonio Romanucci said that Nichols was “defenseless the entire time” and that he was “a human pinata for those police officers.”
David Rausch, the Director of Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, described the footage as shocking: “I’m sickened by what I saw. In a word, it’s absolutely appalling.”
Memphis police reaction
Five Memphis police officers – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, and Desmond Mills Jr – were fired after the incident, and have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression.
Davis, the police chief, noted that other officers were still under investigation “for departmental policy violations.”
She said that there should be “absolute accountability for those responsible for Tyre’s death,” adding that she also expects protests, but urged people to keep them peaceful.
“I expect our citizens to exercise their 1st amendment right to protest, to demand action and results, but we need to ensure our community is safe in this process,” she said.
Davis also said that her department was complying with ongoing investigations.
“I promise full and compete cooperation from the Memphis police Department with the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Shelby County District Attorney Office to determine the entire scope of facts that contributed to Tyre Nichols’ death,” she said.