“He was defenseless the entire time. He was a human piñata for those police officers.”
Memphis, TN — In an extremely rare move, just three days after five Memphis police officers conducted a traffic stop on Tyre Nichols, every one of the officers involved was fired. Nichols would not survive the traffic stop and after the family watched body camera footage from the incident that night, we now know why.
On Jan. 7, police pulled Nichols over. accusing him of driving recklessly the day before. According to police, Nichols — who was completely unarmed — allegedly attempted to take off on foot before “a confrontation” took place.
We now know that “confrontation” was a horrifying beating that lasted several minutes in which five cops beat Nichols like a “human piñata.” What’s more, according to attorneys for Nichols family, the officers who beat him to death were part of MPD’s “organized crime unit” and were in “unmarked cars,” potentially giving Nichols a reason to run as he may not have initially known they were cops.
On Monday, police showed the body camera footage to Nichols’ family who was completely devastated and horrified by what they witnessed.
“What I saw on the video today was horrific,” said Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather. “No father, mother should have to witness what I saw today.”
“It is appalling. It is deplorable. It is heinous,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said of what he saw, comparing it to the beating of Rodney King. “It is violent. It is troublesome on every level.”
“Yet again, we’re seeing evidence of what happens to Black and brown people from simple traffic stops,” Crump said. “Simple traffic stops. You should not be killed because of a simple traffic stop.”
“He was defenseless the entire time. He was a human piñata for those police officers. It was an unadulterated, unabashed, non-stop beating of this young boy for three minutes,” attorney Antonio Romanucci said.
Police stopped short of releasing the video publicly, however, noting that it would taint any chance of a fair trial.
“Transparency remains a priority in this incident, and a premature release could adversely impact the criminal investigation and the judicial process,” Chief Cerelyn Davis said. “We are working with the District Attorney’s Office to determine the appropriate time to release video recordings publicly.”
— Memphis Police Dept (@MEM_PoliceDept) January 23, 2023
According to police, after Nichols was beaten for several minutes, he collapse with “shortness of breath” and was hospitalized.
“Afterward, the suspect complained of having a shortness of breath, at which time an ambulance was called to the scene. The suspect was transported to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition,” officials said.
Three days later and Nichols succumbed to his injuries and died in the hospital. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation then announced that his death was being investigated by TBI special agents.
UPDATE: Today, the individual involved in the use-of-force incident with officers with the Memphis Police Department on Saturday, Tyre D. Nichols (DOB: 6/5/93) of Memphis, succumbed to his injuries.
This remains an active and ongoing investigation. pic.twitter.com/fPHPEj1Rxc
— Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) January 10, 2023
The next day, the Memphis Police Department’s administrative investigation found the five officers – identified by the department as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith – violated policies for use of force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid, and they were all terminated.
“The egregious nature of this incident is not a reflection of the good work that our officers perform, with integrity, every day,” Police Chief Cerleyn “CJ” Davis said.
Director of Communications for the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, Erica Williams, said: “charges, if any, could be announced later this week.”
She also stated that the body camera footage could also be released this week.
Other than claiming Nichols was suspected of reckless driving the day before he was stopped, police have not released any information — including the reason for not stopping him the day they claimed he was driving recklessly.
“Our son ran because he was scared for his life,” Rodney Wells said. “He did not run because he was trying to get rid of no drugs, no guns, no any of that. He ran because he was scared for his life. And when you see the video, you will see why he was scared for his life.”
Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist
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