The city of Memphis has released the long-awaited police footage of the events leading up to the death of 29-year-old Black man Tyre Nichols.
Nichols, 29, died on January 10, three days after Memphis police officers pulled him over for alleged reckless driving. The Memphis police department initially said a "confrontation" involving Nichols and officers ensued after he "fled the scene on foot." Following the police encounter, Nichols complained of having shortness of breath and was transported to St. Francis Hospital, where he died days after the traffic stop.
The footage comes after five officers, who were terminated last week, were booked into jail Thursday (January 26) on charges including murder, assault, and kidnapping in connection to Nichols' death.
Since Thursday's arrest, four of the officers — Justin Smith, Desmond Mills Jr, Emmitt Martin III, and Tadarrius Bean — have been released on a combined $1 million bond, the Daily Mail reports. A fifth officer, Demetrius Haley, was still in custody as of Friday afternoon on a $350,000 bond. However, as of 10:30 p.m. on Friday, all of the five former officers had bonded out of Shelby County Jail, court records show.
Ahead of the video release, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said Friday that there was "no proof" that Tyre was driving recklessly when officers stopped him. "I'm sure that individuals watching will feel what the family felt. And if you don't, then you're not a human being," Davis said, noting that the officers' actions "defy humanity." "I would say it is about the same if not worse than the 1991 beating of Rodney King. A group-think mentality."
The police chief noted that Nichols can be heard calling out for his mother in the video. "Yes, he cried out for me, because I'm his mother," Row Vaughn Wells told CNN on Friday. "He was trying to get home to safety. He was a mamma's boy."
"I was feeling my son's pain as they were beating him to death," Wells continued, noting that Nichols was "beat like a pinata." "They brought shame to their own families. They brought shame to the Black community."
Nichols' family said they support sharing the police footage that led to his death, according to Shaun King. "They want the world to see what police in America did to their son and they want police all over America to see the consequences of what they did to Tyre," King shared on social media on behalf of the victim's family. "Their hope is that if it even impacts a few police and prevents them from acting this way in the future, possibly saving lives, that it is worth it to them for the video to be shared."
A GoFundMe page has been created to cover Nichols' case and funeral expenses.
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