Memphis police set to release video showing fatal beating of Tyre Nichols


Meanwhile, the Memphis community is bracing for potential protests in response to the video release, with Memphis-Shelby County Schools canceling after-school activities Friday and Southwest Tennessee Community College moving to virtual classes Friday. 

Wells warned of the contents of the video, called it “horrific,” and asked people to protest in peace after its release. “I don’t want us burning up our cities, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for,” she said.

Romanucci described the video Monday as an “unadulterated, unabashed, nonstop beating” for three minutes. Crump has said it reminded him of “the Rodney King video,” referring to the 1991 bystander video of Los Angeles police officers beating a Black man.

Nichols’ mother spoke on her heartbreak in an interview aired Friday morning on CNN, saying by the time she got to the hospital and saw Nichols following the arrest, “He was already gone.”

“They had beat him to a pulp. He had bruises all over him, his head was swollen like a watermelon, his neck was busting because of the swelling, they broke his neck, my son’s nose looked like an “S”, she said.

Crump said Nichols’ last words in the video footage were three “gut-wrenching screams for his mom.”

President Joe Biden said in a statement Thursday that Nichols’ family deserves a “swift, full, and transparent investigation.”

“Tyre’s death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all,” Biden said.

He also urged that any protests in the coming days remain peaceful, acknowledging that “outrage is understandable.”

Five officers involved in the case — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — were fired last week after an administrative investigation found they violated department policy on use of force.

More coverage on Tyre Nichols

All five officers were charged Thursday. Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told reporters their actions resulted in Nichols’ death.

Mulroy said that after an “initial altercation” when “pepper spray was deployed,” Nichols ran from the officers.

“There was another altercation at a nearby location, where serious injuries were experienced by Mr. Nichols,” Mulroy continued. “After some period of time of waiting around afterward, he was taken away by an ambulance.”  

Five Memphis police officers were fired in connection with a traffic stop that led to the death of Tyre Nichols. Clockwise from top left: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith and Desmond Mills Jr.
Five Memphis, Tenn., police officers were fired in connection with a traffic stop that led to the death of Tyre Nichols. Clockwise from top left: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith and Desmond Mills Jr.Memphis Police Department via AP

All five former officers were charged with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression and one count of aggravated assault, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Two of the officers, Mills and Smith, posted $250,000 bond and were released late Thursday. Haley, Martin and Bean had remained in custody Thursday night, jail records showed. But as of early Friday morning, jail records showed that only Haley remained behind bars.

Multiple attempts to reach the officers for comment since they were fired were unsuccessful.

Attorneys for Mills and Martin said their clients plan to plead not guilty. It was unclear whether the others have retained legal representation.

Davis described the incident as “heinous, reckless and inhumane” in a video statement Wednesday night.

“I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels,” she said. “I expect you to feel outrage in the disregard of basic human rights, as our police officers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video.”

Preliminary findings in an autopsy conducted by a forensic pathologist for Nichols’ family show he was severely beaten before he died, the family’s attorneys have said. The Shelby County medical examiner’s office hasn’t released an official cause of death.

Nichols’ case is being investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Justice Department, which launched a civil rights inquiry into the traffic stop.

David K. Li, Deon J. Hampton and Marlene Lenthang contributed.


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