The city of Memphis, Tennessee released video footage of a violent and fatal incident between Memphis PD officers and a man identified as Tyre Nichols.
The incident occurred Jan. 7, in a residential area of Shelby County after Nichols was stopped for what the officers described as “reckless driving.”
In the videos, Nichols can be seen beaten by the officers before being taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead three days later.
Viewer Discretion is advised:
The five officers, identified as Justin Smith, Emmett Martin, Desmond Mills Jr., Demetrius Haley and Tadarrius Bean, were all fired by Memphis PD, with Chief C.J. Davis saying in a statement that the officers were “directly responsible for the physical abuse of Mr. Nichols.”
“This is not just a professional failing, this is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual,” Chief Davis said in her statement after the officers’ firings. “I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels. I expect you to feel outrage in the disregard of basic human rights, as our police officers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video.”
The five officers are also facing charges from a grand jury that range from second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
“The criminal charges against the 5 former MPD officers for Tyre Nichols’ death are the FIRST step toward accountability!” Crump said. “However, we must also continue to call out America’s institutionalized culture of police violence to get real.”
The incident videos were released Friday night, with the world seeing the lengths to which the officers took in order to arrest Nichols.
It did not take long for local Los Angeles leaders to give their initial thoughts on the violent video:
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass
In a statement, Mayor Bass said:
“Tonight, we saw ferocious violence from an out of control herd. We saw a sickening disregard for humanity as they left Tyre just lying there.
“No words can express the chilling familiarity of a Black man crying out for his mother as he is beaten to death by officers of the law who are sworn to protect us.
“My heart aches for Tyre’s family and all who loved him.
“Our country has a problem that we cannot run away from – we must confront it.
“All communities deserve police that will always protect them. It is commendable that the Police Chief and officials in Memphis fired, arrested and filed murder charges against these officers. True justice, however, is not a guilty verdict. True justice would be Tyre being alive today.
“As the people of Los Angeles process and react to this horrific killing, we must move with purpose and peace.
“The hearts and prayers of the people of Los Angeles are with the family of Tyre Nichols tonight.”
LAPD Chief Michel Moore
In a statement Friday, Chief Moore spoke on the incident, saying:
“The grotesque actions I watched in the video were incredibly disturbing, cruel and inhumane.
“To witness former Memphis police officers engaged in such unjustified and excessive force at the expense of Tyre Nichols’ life angers me as a police officer, as an American.
“This behavior goes against every principle of the law enforcement profession and is in direct contradiction to the dedication and sacrifice of the vast majority of our members who strive to protect and to serve.
“The violation of trust tarnishes our badge and has a caustic effect on the public’s trust. The Los Angeles Police Department strives each day to build trust and events such as this are sobering reminders of how quickly that can be lost.
“In the days ahead, the Los Angeles Police Department will ensure that the lawful expression of the public’s anger and frustration is protected and we are prepared to facilitate those wishing to exercise their First Amendment rights. To ensure the safety of all, we are asking Angelenos to remain peaceful and united in their expression of outrage.
“At this time, there is no information of violence that would threaten the safety of the public, businesses or property here in Los Angeles. We will continue to provide timely information and updates to the public regarding announced protests or demonstrations as well as any change in otherwise peaceful expressions.”
Melina Abdullah, Co-Founder Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles
Through two separate tweets, Abdullah said:
Of all that I’m seeing, it’s the cries…
‘Moooommmm!!!’ Breaking my heart.
I’m so sorry.”
Of all that I’m seeing, it’s the cries…
Breaking my heart.
I’m so sorry. #TyreNichols
— Melina Abdullah (@DocMellyMel) January 28, 2023
“There’s no such thing as a Black cop. They’re all blue.”
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon
“The recent release of the video capturing the murder of Tyre Nichols is absolutely horrific. My heart goes out to his family, all those who knew him, and the Memphis community.
“This crime did not occur in Los Angeles, but I know it is ripping open many wounds here. It is a stark reminder of how far we have to go to eam back broken community trust, and I promise to keep fighting to make sure that we do. An abuse of power- especially such a violent, brutal one- has no place in our society.”
U.S. President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden gave a statement on the incident, while reiterating his past efforts to pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act:
“Like so many, I was outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols’ death. It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day.
“My heart goes out to Tyre Nichols’ family and to Americans in Memphis and across the country who are grieving this tremendously painful loss. The footage that was released this evening will leave people justifiably outraged. Those who seek justice should not to resort to violence or destruction. Violence is never acceptable; it is illegal and destructive. I join Mr. Nichols’ family in calling for peaceful protest.
“I spoke with RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, Mr. Nichols’ mother and stepfather, this afternoon. There are no words to describe the heartbreak and grief of losing a beloved child and young father. Nothing can bring Mr. Nichols back to his family and the Memphis community. But Mr. and Mrs. Wells, Mr. Nichols’ son, and his whole family deserve a swift, full, and transparent investigation.
“We must do everything in our power to ensure our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all. Real and lasting change will only come if we take action to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again. That is why I called on Congress to send the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to my desk. When Senate Republicans blocked that bill, I signed an executive order that mandated stricter use of force standards and accountability provisions for federal law enforcement, as well as measures to strengthen accountability at the state and local level.”
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