On January 8, Memphis police released a statement regarding a “confrontation” with a reckless driver. Tire Nichols died following a “use of force incident” that occurred during the traffic stop. New body camera video shows officers beating Nichols, which is omitted from the police version of events. Something is loading.
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On January 8, the Memphis Police Department released a statement describing a “confrontation” with a suspected reckless driver, later identified as Tire Nichols. But body camera footage of the incident, released on Friday, told a different story of the brutal beating that left the 29-year-old dead.
“On January 7, 2023, at approximately 8:30 p.m., officers in the Raines Road and Ross Road area attempted to conduct a traffic stop for reckless driving,” the original statement from the Memphis Police Department read. “As officers approached the driver of the vehicle, a confrontation ensued and the suspect fled on foot.”
—Memphis Police Department (@MEM_PoliceDept) January 8, 2023
The statement continued: “Officers pursued the suspect and again attempted to take him into custody. As they attempted to take the suspect into custody, another confrontation occurred; however, the suspect was eventually apprehended. Subsequently, the suspect complained of shortness of breath, at which time an ambulance was called to the scene. The suspect was transported to St. Francis Hospital in a state critical.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said Thursday that officers have no evidence to arrest Nichols and called the video “abhorrent, reckless and inhumane.”
“We’ve looked at the cameras, we’ve looked at the body-worn cameras, and even if something happened before the shutdown, we haven’t been able to prove it at this time,” Davis said. at CNN. “We were unable to justify the reckless driving.”
Bodycam footage released by the city of Memphis on Friday revealed the ‘confrontation’ was actually a 5-to-1 Nichols takedown which his attorneys described as officers beating the man like a ‘human pinata’ as he was screaming for his mother. Nichols died three days after the arrest.
Less than three weeks after the initial incident, five of the officers involved in the incident have been charged with second degree murder. Two Shelby County sheriff’s deputies have also been placed on leave pending an investigation into their conduct, according to a statement from the sheriff’s department released Friday.
The Shelby Sheriff’s Department did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. The Memphis Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which is handling the investigation into the incident, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Before the video was released, the Memphis police chief described the arrest as “abhorrent” and “inhumane”.
The videos, released in four parts showing perspectives from different officers’ body cameras, show no reckless driving by Nichols and begin with a tense scene of officers ordering him out of the car.
In one video, an officer can be heard ordering Nichols to “get the hell out of that fucking car.” After Nichols replies that he “didn’t do anything”, the officer pulls him out of the car and throws him to the ground.
“I’m going to taser your ass,” the officer can be heard saying.
Nichols stands up and struggles with the officer before the officer deploys his Taser and misses Nichols. He then flees.
Another officer can be heard saying, “I hope they stomp his ass.”
In another body camera video, Nichols can be seen repeatedly stomped on and punched by officers as he cries out for his mother. Later in the sequence, Nichols’ cries become less coherent, his speech becomes wild, and he struggles to get up.
The original statement from the Memphis Police Department makes no mention of the conduct of the officer who caused Nichols to be transported to the hospital, although a January 10 Tennessee Bureau of Investigation statement said he “died of his injuries”.
—Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (@TBInvestigation) January 10, 2023
Legal experts told Insider the footage revealed a “breakdown” in police protocol and described the incident as “excessive”.
“There is no reason why five officers should be reduced to closed fists in order to subdue a suspect who does not appear to be violent in return, but at worst it can be said that he is not complying with their orders,” Joshua Ritter, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor and partner with El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, told Insider of the footage.
Nationwide, anti-police brutality protests have grown as people react to body camera footage, prompting comparisons to the 2020 video of George Floyd’s death, when the officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes as Floyd cried that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for Floyd’s murder.
Instead of circulating body camera footage of Nichols’ death, which experts say may do more harm than good, many activists are releasing videos of him skateboarding to remember him as someone. one who “lived in joy”.