Brutal body camera video showing Tyre Nichols being beaten, pepper sprayed and Tasered by multiple cops during a traffic stop earlier this month was released by the Memphis Police Department.
The FedEx driver — who had no known police record — claims he “didn’t do anything,” as the five black officers attempt to detain him, but before they can cuff him he escapes, leading to a second altercation where they kick, club and beat him
During the second incident — which took place just 100 yards from his home — the 29-year-old, who is also black, repeatedly yells “Mom!” as officers attempt to handcuff him.
Nichols, moaning in pain, says “alright” and appears to give up as the police pin him on his stomach and cuff him. Nichols would succumb to his injuries in the hospital three days later.
Video footage of the incident starts with Nichols being pulled over at a red light by officers, who had guns drawn and acted aggressively. Later, they would say the reason for the stop was Nichols driving recklessly.
In the video, they pull Nichols from his car and tell him to get on the ground.
“Alright, alright, alright,” he says repeatedly while complying.
“I’ll break your s–t, try to f–k around,” an officer yells at him.
You guys are really doing a lot right now. I’m just trying to go home,” Nichols says.
Nichols then frees himself from the officers’ grips as they pepper spray him and fire a Taser at him and takes off running down the street.
The officers give chase and one cop’s camera shows him reaching the scene as officers are wrestling Nichols on the ground on a street corner.
One officer walks over, winds up and kicks the father-of-one. Another cop appears to hit Nichols with a baton as officers get him to his feet. He also takes multiple punches to the head, some from behind, before crumbling to his knees and then to the ground again.
Mom!” he screams out desperately as they continue.
An officer threatens to “baton the f–k out of” him and appears to hit Nichols multiple times while yelling “give us your hands!”
As more officers arrive at the scene, one kicks Nichols while he’s prostrate on the ground.
The officers finally get off Nichols’ back as he lies writhing in pain on the pavement.
The cops move him up against the side of a cop car where he can be seen slumped over and bloodied when officers shine their flashlights on his face, revealing his eyes to be closed.
At one point, Nichols keels over on his side.
“Hey, sit up bro,” one officer tells him, in the footage.
For several minutes, Nichols remains cuffed on the ground without any help, at times still twisting in pain, until two responders prop him up for basic treatment.
Roughly 20 minutes after he was put in handcuffs, EMS arrived. He’s then loaded onto a gurney and taken away to the hospital.
“Man I was hitting him with straight haymakers, dog,” an officer can be heard telling other officers as they mull around the scene waiting for EMS talking about the arrest.
Multiple officers accused Nichols of being “high” on drugs and one officer claimed he nearly reached for a gun, footage shows.
Five officers — identified as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith — were charged with Nichols’ murder and surrendered to law enforcement on Thursday. They are charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression in addition to second-degree murder.
All five were sprung from the Shelby County Jail Friday morning after each posted between a $250,000 and $350,000 bail.
They were fired from the department last Friday after an internal investigation found that they used excessive force and failed their duties to intervene and render aid.
The distressing footage was made public just days after being shown privately to Nichols’ family and their legal team, who likened the man’s beating to that of Rodney King at the hands of Los Angeles police officers in 1991.
Prior to the recording’s release, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis described the incident as “heinous, reckless and inhumane” — but at the same time urged the community not to lash out in violence in response to the video.
Nichols was driving home on Jan. 7 after taking sunset photos in a suburban park when he was pulled over.
Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, who was shown the footage ahead of its release and said she has been unable to watch the whole video but several people described it for her.
“All I heard my son say was, ‘What did I do?’ I just lost it from there,’’ she told CNN.
She recalled how in the video her son was “beat like a piñata.”
In a video statement Wednesday, Chief Davis said the five cops “were found to be directly responsible” for Nichols’ death.
Relatives have accused the police of causing Nichols to have a heart attack and kidney failure, but his official cause of death has yet to be released, almost three weeks after his arrest.
News of the body camera video’s release sparked concerns about possible outbreaks of violence in Memphis and other cities, where law enforcement agencies braced for protests and civil unrest.