On Friday, the stepfather of Tyre Nichols, the 29-year-old man who was fatally assaulted after a traffic stop earlier this month, urged for calm in anticipation of the release of the police bodycam and surveillance footage depicting the violence later in the day.
Memphis and other cities in the United States were supposedly getting ready for potential demonstrations after the video was made public.
An African American man was allegedly stopped for reckless driving on January 7, according to Memphis police, stated Nichols. He was assaulted after the stop, and three days later he died from his injuries.
Five African American Memphis police officers have been terminated following the incident, which led to charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression.
During a news conference on Friday at a church in Memphis, Rodney Wells, the stepfather of Nichols, said that he strongly encouraged people to peacefully protest if they felt it was necessary. He also mentioned that the family was very content with the legal process so far.
He said, “We want peaceful protest. We do not want any type of disturbance. We do not want any type of uproar. We want peace.” “The family is very satisfied with the district attorney, the chief of police, and the process.”
The attorney district, Romanucci Antonio and Ben Crump, applauded the swiftness with which charges were brought against the officers. They also spoke at the news conference as lawyers for the family.
The officers stated that other than the police force, there are likely more members who act with impunity and are known as units of “suppression”. He also mentioned that the officers from the unit “SCORPION” were members of the operation aimed at restoring peace in our neighborhoods.
He urged the Memphis police department to immediately dissolve the unit.
“The president stated that while outrage is understandable, violence is never permissible.” Following President Joe Biden’s similar plea on Thursday, Nichols’ stepfather also called for peace.
Biden expressed, “We must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of equal dignity and fair treatment, and serves as a painful reminder of Tyre’s death.”
Federal law enforcement authorities stated that they were ready for any disturbances.
During a news conference on Friday, Christopher Wray, the Director of the FBI in Washington, stated that the bureau had alerted all of its field offices around the country, instructing local and state law enforcement to take action if a situation were to escalate.
Wray mentioned that he had watched the footage of Tyre’s assault and was “shocked” by its substance.
Other officials’ appeals to maintain peaceful protests against the police were echoed by Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland, although Wray expressed, “I’m having difficulty finding a more powerful term, but I can only describe myself as shocked.”
Garland stated during the press briefing, “I would like to mention, and I would like to reiterate the sentiments expressed by the family, that when individuals view this video, we encourage them to remain calm and refrain from engaging in any acts of violence.” “This is the message conveyed by the family, and it is also the stance adopted by the Department of Justice.”
The Department of Justice has initiated a probe into the case regarding civil rights violations.