Tyre Nichols repeatedly called out for his mother as he was brutally beaten by five Memphis Police officers now charged with his murder.
Harrowing footage shows the 29-year-old FedEx worker being punched, kicked and hit with a baton for three minutes during a traffic stop close to his home on January 7.
Nichols appears to be the only calm person present, telling the officers ‘Alright’ and ‘OK’ as they drag him out of his car, adding: ‘Stop, I’m not doing anything.’
He managed to break free and run a short distance after being threatened with pepper spray and a Taser despite offering no visible resistance but was quickly caught.
CCTV captures what is now said to be Nichols’ murder, with the officers appearing to punch him in the face while he is restrained and kick him in the head while he is being held on the ground.
Barely able to stand – and still offering no resistance – another officer can be seen positioning himself behind the father-of-one and hitting him repeatedly with his baton.
Nichols is heard repeatedly screaming ‘Mom, mom’ during the alleged attack. His mother has said her son was only about 80 yards from home when he was beaten.
The officers then drag him and shove him up against a car, where he sits slumped and handcuffed for 20 minutes before anyone offers any help.
For half of that time two fire department officials were on the scene with medical kits, but they just stood around while the officers fist-bumped.
Throughout the clips, they make claims about Nichols’ behaviour that are not supported by the footage or that the district attorney and other officials have said did not happen.
In one, an officer claims that during the initial traffic stop Nichols reached for his gun before fleeing and almost had his hand on the handle, which is not shown in the video.
After Nichols is in handcuffs and leaning against a police car, several officers say that he must have been high.
Later an officer says no drugs were found in his car, and another officer immediately counters that Nichols must have ditched something while he was running away.
Authorities have not released an autopsy report, but they have said there appeared to be no justification for the traffic stop, and nothing of note was found in the car.
The five officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr, Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith — who are all also Black, were dismissed from the police department last week.
They have been charged with second-degree murder, assault, kidnapping, official misconduct and oppression.
Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison under Tennessee law.
Memphis Police Director Cerelyn ‘CJ’ Davis described the five officers’ actions as ‘heinous, reckless and inhumane’.
She said they were ‘already ramped up, at about a 10’ during the stop and were ‘aggressive, loud, using profane language and probably scared Mr Nichols from the very beginning’.
Geoffrey Alpert, a criminologist at the University of South Carolina who studies use of force, said: ‘Police are trained to understand that people might flee just because they are scared.’
Cities across the country braced for demonstrations.
Protests were planned Friday night in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York City and Portland, Oregon.
Nichols’ relatives urged supporters to protest peacefully.
Nichols’ mother RowVaughn Wells said: ‘I don’t want us burning up our city, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for.
‘If you guys are here for me and Tyre, then you will protest peacefully.’
Speaking at the White House, President Joe Biden said Friday that he was ‘outraged’ and ‘deeply pained’ after watching the video.
He spoke with Nichols’ mother earlier in the day and told her that he was going to be ‘making a case’ to Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act ‘to get this under control’.
The legislation, which has been stalled, is meant to tackle police misconduct and excessive force and boost federal and state accountability efforts.
‘No mother should go through what I am going through right now, no mother, to lose their child to the violent way that I lost my child,’ Wells said.
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