Police in Memphis, Tennessee released a video of five police officers beating young Tire Nichols after the chase, while he cried for his mother.
Video extracted from police body cameras and street security cameras released by Memphis police on January 27 shows a group of police holding Tire Nichols, 29, trying to knock him down with a stun gun. The young man tried to run away and the police team gave chase.
In the ensuing scenes of the video, which lasts about an hour and has audio only in parts, Nichols cries for his mother and groans as the group of officers repeatedly kicks and punches him.
The incident happened on January 7 and Nichols was stopped by police on suspicion of “careless driving”. He was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died three days later.
The five policemen involved, also people of color, were fired and charged with murder. Prison records show that four of the five officers were released on bail.
“Like so many others, I am deeply outraged and saddened to watch the horrifying video of the beating that led to the death of Tire Nichols,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement, adding that there should be The investigation is quick, complete and transparent.
More protests are expected in US cities to protest against police violence. President Biden and local officials called for the protests to be peaceful.
“My heart is broken. I feel the pain of my baby when they beat him to death,” RowVaughn Wells, the victim’s mother, said at a press conference on January 27. “A mother knows her child is calling her, needing her, but can’t be there. My child is very good, no one is perfect, but my baby is just as close.”
The White House said it has notified the mayors of more than a dozen cities, including Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia, of federal assistance in the event of protests.
Memphis Sheriff Cerelyn Davis compared the video of the beating Nichols to footage of the 1991 beating of Rodney King, which sparked days of riots in Los Angeles that left dozens dead at the time.
“I was working in law enforcement when the Rodney King case happened and I’ve seen the two incidents closely resemble, if not worse,” Davis said.
Nichols’ mother accused police initially of trying to cover up her son’s beatings. They came to her doorstep to say that Nichols was arrested for drunk driving, pepper sprayed and electrocuted after being handcuffed.
Racism and police violence in the US received more attention after the death of George Floyd 2020. A 46-year-old black man died after being held by a white police officer for a long time. .
Huyen Le (Theo AFP, Reuters)