On January 7, a young black man was stopped by police near Memphis, Tennessee. They said he was driving dangerously. The 29-year-old man, Tyre Nichols, became upset as officers began raising their voices to him.
They said he was resisting arrest and he pleaded with them not to harm him. The night ended with Nichols beaten beyond recognition on the roadside and rushed to the hospital. Several days later he died in the hospital.
Officers said that Nichols crashed his car and they found him in poor condition. His family didn’t believe it. Then, evidence emerged of a coverup and horrific police violence.
Now, five officers involved in that traffic stop are being charged with murder and other crimes in the death of Nichols.
Bodycam Footage Set To Be Released
The five black officers are being charged with second-degree murder in Nichols’ death. They also face charges of kidnapping and assault. The attempted coverup is also factoring into the charges.
The bodycam footage should be out late Friday, according to lawyers. Footage shows Nichols being assaulted for several minutes as he begs for mercy and cries out for his mom.
Widespread protests are expected, especially in Memphis; although Nichols’ family has asked protesters to please remain peaceful. All five of those charged are already in jail and plan to contest the charges and plead their innocence.
Lawyers for the cops say they never intended Nichols to die and it was an unintended tragedy. FBI chief Chris Wray said he himself watched the video and is “appalled” by what he saw in the officers’ treatment of the young man.
NEW: FBI director Christopher Wray says he watched the video of the traffic stop that allegedly led to Tyre Nichols' death and that he was "appalled."
"I'm struggling to find a stronger word, but I will tell you that I was appalled." https://t.co/YQcyfrMgSg pic.twitter.com/ZQG4ISCifF
— ABC News (@ABC) January 27, 2023
How Much Jail Time Are Officers Potentially Facing?
Officers charged in Nichols’ death are facing 15 to 60 years in jail if found guilty of second-degree murder. Nichols himself was a former delivery driver and dad of a young son. He loved skateboarding and tried to help people get along in life.
His family said he wouldn’t want him to “tear up our cities” and be violent due to what happened, because it wasn’t what he stood for. Nichols’ family lawyers say the “disgusting” attack on their client shows the strong need for police reform.
Joe Biden said there needs to be a “swift” investigation of exactly what happened and why, while Memphis Police chief Cerelyn Davis said “basic humanity” failed on January 7 when Nichols was beaten in such a manner.
She says an “independent review” is taking place within the department and the five officers were already dismissed.
Bro… Just… Smfh.
This man was messed with by those SAME 5 MEMPHIS COPS **AND** he reported it to Internal Affairs. *TWICE*
Tyre Nichols' murder could have been prevented but the system protects itself and this is one of its features. ACAB. Dismantle the whole system. pic.twitter.com/U38aa3zsY3
— Kitty • ♿🏳️🌈 (@district12kitty) January 27, 2023
Disturbing Allegations Emerge
Despite the typical promises from the Memphis Police Department, there are some very disturbing signs the unit which beat Nichols had already been accused of some serious assaults.
Cornell McKinney said the same “SCORPION” unit that attacked Nichols stopped and violently accosted him only five days before Nichols’ death. McKinney reported the matter to Memphis Police internal affairs, but received no response.