New Video Shows Memphis Police Fatally Beating, Tasing, Pepper-Spraying Tyre Nichols
January 27, 2023 | Tags: REASON, Tennessee, transparency
The Memphis Police Department released video tonight of the deadly encounter between Tyre Nichols and police officers earlier this month that ultimately resulted in the death of the 29-year-old Nichols.
The four videos released tonight include body camera footage from three of the officers as well as a pole camera from the neighborhood in which the encounter ended.
The first body camera video shows three police cars stopping Nichols, who is black, at a traffic light for an alleged traffic violation. They pull him from the vehicle and attempt to force him onto his stomach on the ground while tasing and pepper-spraying him.
Nichols oscillates between compliance and resistance during this initial encounter, before eventually slipping out of officers' grasp and running down the road and into a neighborhood.
The second body camera feed picks up the chase about 10 minutes later, when Nichols is tackled by an officer in the residential neighborhood he ran into.
A pole camera captures a silent overhead view of the encounter from there. We see officers—all of whom are also black—beat and kick Nichols while he flails on the ground. Officers bring him to his feet and prop him upright while one officer punches him in the face repeatedly. Another whips out an extendable baton and strikes him.
Audio from body cameras captures Nichols crying out for his mother, one officer threatening to "spray" Nichols again, and another saying he'll "baton the fuck out" of him.
Eventually, a severely beaten Nichols is propped up against a police car. Officers then mill around, discussing the chase. One complains about hurting his leg. Another cop says Nichols reached for the officer's gun during the fight.
While they talk, Nichols remains keeled over on the ground. More police officers eventually arrive on the scene. Two medics arrive and attend to the collapsed Nichols. The pole camera footage ends with an ambulance arriving roughly 30 minutes after Nichols is first tackled on the street.
Nichols died in the hospital three days after the encounter as a result of the wounds inflicted on him by police.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would launch a civil rights investigation into the incident.
Yesterday, five of the officers involved in the encounter were charged with murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression by the Shelby County district attorney.
In the run-up to the release of the body camera footage tonight, local Memphis officials and Nichols' family urged protesters to remain peaceful.
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