Memphis Police release video of officers beating Tyre Nichols during arrest

Memphis Police Force Investigation
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Posted at 6:06 PM, Jan 27, 2023

Authorities released bodycam footage showing five Memphis Police Department officers brutally beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols following a traffic stop.

In four different clips, officers are seen spraying Nichols with what appears to be pepper spray, beating him with a baton and kicking him in the head.

One of the clips is from a pole camera. It shows the officers beating Nichols and standing around after they subdue him.

Nichols remained on the ground for about 25 minutes without police or medical personnel addressing his injuries. Nichols' face was beaten and bloodied.

Emergency crews brought out a gurney but he remained on the ground for several minutes before an ambulance drives into view.

Nichols died on Jan. 10, three days after the incident. He was reportedly returning home from taking pictures at a park when he was pulled over.

The officers -- Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith -- were fired and charged with second-degree murder and other crimes.

The Shelby County sheriff announced Friday that two deputies on the scene after the beating were relieved of their duties pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Nichols' family got an opportunity to watch the video prior to it being released to the public. RowVaughn Wells, Nichols' mother, said Friday that she could not watch the video in its entirety due to its graphic nature.

“What I’ve heard is very horrific, very horrific. And any of you who have children, please don’t let them see it,” she said.

Wells added that the five police officers are a “disgrace” who brought shame to their families and their community. "For me to find out my son was calling out my name and I was only feet away and didn't even hear him, you have no clue how I feel right now," she said.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Thursday that the video's release is an attempt to be transparent with the community.

"The actions of these officers were awful, and no one, including law enforcement, is above the law," he said. "I assure you we will do everything we can to keep this type of heinous act from happening again."

The Department of Justice said on Friday that it opened a civil rights investigation into the case. FBI Director Christopher Wray said he was "appalled" by was he saw in the video."I am struggling to find a stronger word, but I was appalled," Wray said.

Wray said all FBI field offices have been alerted to coordinate a response to protests that could potentially get out of hand in response to the actions of the former officers.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin sent out a response Friday evening: