GRAPHIC: Video shows ‘heinous’ beating of Tyre Nichols by Memphis officers, attorney says

The family of Tyre Nichols, the man who died days after a confrontation with Memphis police, spoke for the first time on Monday, seeing footage from the event that led to his death. (Source: Gray/WMC News)

The family hired civil rights lawyer Ben Crump and attorney Antonio Romanucci to represent them after Nichols’ passing.

The Memphis police also met with them. The footage was released publicly before Monday to give the attorneys and members of the Family a chance to review it.

Crump stated, “Crump mentioned Nichols’ mother was incapable of enduring more than a minute of the video. Tyre inquired of police officers, ‘What action did I take?’ In that initial minute.”

Crump described the video as “shocking, atrocious, aggressive, and concerning.”

Crump expressed, “One should not lose their life due to a mere traffic stop.” Crump mentioned, “We’re witnessing proof of the consequences faced by individuals of Black and brown communities during routine traffic stops.”

CJ Davis, the Police Chief, informed them that they were about to witness something that she was not pleased with, as stated by Crump before they viewed the video.

“Unfortunately, it brought to mind (the) Rodney King footage,” Crump stated.

Nichols claims that he was defenseless during the events captured on video. Tyre describes him as being brutally beaten by the police, like “a human piñata.”

“According to Romanucci, it was brutal and aggressive, not just that. Nichols was attempting to return home to seek refuge with his mother,” he explains.

He states that the officers were in vehicles without any visible markings and inquired about the purpose of their traffic stops.

Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather, asserts that no caregiver should ever witness the distressing sight they were subjected to.

“We will not accept anything less than justice, even if it means one murder is enough for us. I said this one day, just like him. We will not stop until we get justice, and the attorneys and family will support us.”

Tyre’s mother claims that Nichols was only 80 yards away from his residence when he was assaulted.

“As she entered the hospital room, she mentioned that he had already passed away.”

Five Memphis Police officers were terminated on Friday due to their participation in Nichols’ traffic stop earlier this month.

According to Steve Mulroy, the District Attorney of Shelby County, the video will be made available to the public either this week or the following week. Mulroy added that the investigators are cautious about releasing it to avoid jeopardizing the ongoing investigation.

For weeks, individuals throughout the city have begged for the unveiling of the video.

Police officers in Memphis reported that there was a confrontation as Nichol’s car approached them, which they described as reckless driving that led to a stop. This incident occurred on January 7th.

Nichols, a father who is 29 years old and works for FedEx, fled and then there was another confrontation before he was apprehended, as stated by the authorities.

He died three days later. They had an ambulance take him to a nearby hospital, and officers said Nichols complained of shortness of breath.

Officials stated that the reason for the person’s demise has not yet been established.

The internal investigation conducted by the department ultimately ended on Friday, resulting in the termination of five officers. They were identified as Justin Smith, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, Demetrius Haley, and Tadarrius Bean.

The specific timing was not immediately evident, but the officers breached various department protocols such as the excessive utilization of force, obligation to intervene, and duty to provide assistance, as stated by Police Chief CJ Davis. Additionally, Chief Davis mentioned that the arrest footage would be made available following the internal inquiry and after the family had viewed it, during the previous week.

On Monday, it was confirmed that two personnel from the Memphis Fire Department who were involved in taking care of Nichols have been relieved of duty while an internal investigation is being conducted.

The Department of Justice and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are also examining this particular case.

The family of Nichols desires to witness the law enforcement officials implicated in the apprehension to be held accountable for criminal offenses.

Nichols’ parents expressed in a statement, “This battle is only commencing. It’s merely the initial phases of this struggle. At this juncture, our aim is to pursue fairness. The fight has just commenced.”

“Horrific and senseless,” stated Antonio Parkinson, a Democratic State Representative from Memphis, referring to the recent arrest that has shocked the city.

“According to Parkinson,” the publication of the recording could potentially intensify the emotions of pain, sadness, and shame that we are collectively experiencing. “In all instances of fatalities involving law enforcement,” ensuring transparency is crucially significant, nonetheless.

However, President Van Turner of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP also acknowledged that it seems tense as the video waits for it, praising the police department and the city for their quick action in firing the officers.

Turner said, “We will continue to monitor and support this matter, ensuring a fair and equitable resolution. In the future, we will implement appropriate measures to prevent this type of incident from happening again, and we encourage everyone to join us in peaceful protests.”

Attorneys Antonio Romanucci and Crump issued a statement on Friday, representing the Nichols family, stating that the officers’ decision to fire was in support of the department.

“This man must also be accountable for robbing, as they said, of a father, his son, and his life. This is the first step towards achieving justice for his family and Tyre.”

The attorneys scheduled a press conference for later on Monday with the family. The lawyers stated they “will persist in requesting openness and responsibility” and intend to examine video recordings to seek further understanding about the conditions that resulted in Nichols’ demise.

To ensure that we do not compromise our ability to arrive at justice in this case, Steve Mulroy, the District Attorney for Shelby County, stated that we must be certain and cautious about the timing of the release of such a video, as it is subject to legal restrictions.

Mulroy stated, ‘I kindly request for your understanding as we collect all essential details to ensure that we do not jeopardize the inquiry or any potential forthcoming legal proceedings.

Copyright 2023 WMC through Gray Media Group, Inc. The Associated Press contributed to the report. All rights reserved.