Officials in Memphis on Friday released police video from the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man whose death earlier this month has led to second-degree murder charges against five officers, who were fired over the incident. Nichols died three days after what his family and authorities described as a brutal encounter that stemmed from a traffic stop.
Authorities, members of Nichols’ family and their attorneys were shown the video before Friday’s release.
Nichols’ mother told “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday that she could not bear to watch it in full. “All I heard my son say was, ‘What did I do?’ I just lost it from there,” she said.
“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,” his mother, RowVaughn Wells, said during a press conference Friday afternoon.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis told NBC News on Friday the video was “horrific, alarming, disappointing, sad.”
“There were times when he was laying, there were times when he was sat up, there were times when he was mumbling and saying words, but it was obvious he was not in control of his physical self,” Davis added.
Family attorney Ben Crump said an independent autopsy they commissioned found Nichols suffered injuries from a severe beating.
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. Lawyers for Martin and Mills said their clients will plead not guilty.
Police had said Nichols fled the officers after he was pulled over on suspicion of reckless driving — an allegation that Davis told CNN earlier on Friday investigators haven’t been able to substantiate.
President Biden spoke with the mother and stepfather of Tyre Nichols on Friday afternoon, the White House said. During the call with RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, Mr. Biden offered condolences from him and the first lady, and “commended the family’s courage and strength,” the White House said.
“She’s obviously in enormous pain,” Mr. Biden said of Nichols’ mother. “… I told her I had some idea of what that loss was like, and that although it’s impossible to believe now, but a time will come when his memory brings a smile before a tear.”
Ahead of Friday’s release, police officials in Memphis and other cities around the country prepared for the possibility of protests.
“When people actually see with their own eyes the kinds of things that occurred in this incident, there’s an even greater potential for very serious public reaction,” Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King on Friday morning.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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