After pulling Tyre Nichols over for “reckless driving,” the Memphis Police Department has released disturbing bodycam footage showing the five officers beating him to death.
Nichols, 29, was brutally attacked on January 7 just 80 yards from his home, and the video released on Friday night shows him repeatedly calling out for his mother.
“Mom! Mom! Nichols screams as he is pepper sprayed in the face, kicked and punched in the head, and hit with a metal baton while being pinned to the ground by multiple officers.
Get him up, one of the cops orders. Nichols is seen sitting on the street with his back against a grey car and his hands behind his head as police officers congregate at the intersection and flash their lights. Nichols appears to be bleeding from the side of his head after an officer shines a flashlight on his face several times.
Nichols is huddled in the shadows against the car, barely stirring. Eventually, emergency medical personnel are seen approaching him and propping him up on one side. At least a dozen police officers can be seen congregating at the crossroads, and some of them are heard discussing how they pursued and eventually arrested Nichols.
The first segment features footage from a police officer’s body camera during a traffic stop.
The officer with the body camera says, “S***, my knee.” Another cop is complaining about his limping leg. An officer can be heard saying, “That m*****f***** was strong,” on camera.
One of the officers says, “When I see that boy running bro, that m*****f***** ain’t sorry no more.” Next, another cop says, “Your camera is on.”
According to a second cop, Nichols tried to grab his gun. Someone tells Nichols, who is bloodied and visibly in pain as he moves his head from side to side as paramedics examine him, “You can’t go nowhere, you can’t go nowhere.”
On Friday night, Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner, Jr. announced that two deputies who had responded to the scene of Nichols’ arrest had been “relieved of duty” after the release of the video.
To find out if the deputies broke any rules, Bonner said a “internal investigation” was launched. When CBS News contacted the sheriff’s office, a spokesperson declined to provide the names of the deputies and instead said only that they were on paid leave.
According to CBS News’s reporting, police are still looking through surveillance footage in an effort to pin down the fight’s origins more precisely.
The video was shown to authorities, Nichols’ family, and their lawyers before its public release on Friday.
Nichols’ mom, RowVaughn Wells, said on Tuesday’s “CBS Mornings” that she couldn’t make it through the whole thing. “I kept hearing my son ask, “What did I do?” From then on, I was completely lost “the woman declared.
Wells said at a press conference on Friday: “I’ve never seen the video, but what I’ve heard is very horrific, very horrific, and any of you who have children, please don’t let them see it.”
Chief of Police for the city of Memphis “CJ” Davis described the video to NBC News on Friday as “horrific, alarming, disappointing, sad.”
Davis remarked, “It was obvious he was not in control of his physical self, as there were times when he was laying, as there were times when he was sat up, as there were times when he was mumbling and saying words.”
Nichols’s injuries were consistent with a severe beating, according to the independent autopsy the family hired, according to attorney Ben Crump.
The five officers fired over Nichols’ death — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, official misconduct and other offenses. Martin and Mills’ attorneys have said their clients will enter not guilty pleas.
The second segment features disturbing footage of a brutal beating captured by a pole camera.
As soon as the police officers close in, they tackle Mr. Nichols to the ground.
A third officer walks up to him and kicks him twice in the head as the other two are trying to subdue him.
A moment later, a fourth officer – though it is not clear which one – reaches into his or her bag for an extendable baton and repeatedly strikes Mr. Nichols. Several police officers also punch him multiple times.
He is clearly having trouble walking at this point and is making no attempt to resist.
At the five-minute mark, Mr Nichols is on the ground and appears to be writhing. The police have stopped hitting him by now.
He is then taken to one of the unmarked police vehicles, where he is leaned against the door. It’s not clear from the officers’ flashlight beams if he’s still conscious.
Near the end of the video, Mr. Nichols, clearly injured and in obvious distress, is seen in close up.
The officer (or officers) repeatedly ask him what “he had,” again implying that they thought he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident.
Nichols seems to be unable to provide an answer. You can’t go nowhere,” the cop keeps telling him.
About ten people observe Mr. Nichols’s plight, but none of them help. Redactions can be seen in the final few minutes of the video; officials had previously stated that some material would be withheld in accordance with state public records laws, and this proved to be the case.