Five former police officers in Memphis have been charged with murder in connection to the fatal beating of a Black man, Tyre Nichols, 29. The incident, which occurred on January 7, has led to concerns of potential civil unrest and calls for peaceful protests. The officers, who are also Black, were terminated from the Memphis Police Department following an internal investigation that found them to have used excessive force and failed to provide aid.
Nichols died in the hospital on January 10th. Police video of the arrest is set to be released later tonight. The death of Nichols, like the death of George Floyd in May 2020, has reignited conversations about race relations and police brutality in the US, and the officers are also facing charges of aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping.
District Attorney Steve Mulroy stated that after the release of the video, there should be no doubts about the charges against the five officers. Memphis, which is the second-largest city in Tennessee and 65% African American, is bracing for potential civil unrest and President Joe Biden has urged for peaceful demonstrations.
The family attorneys who viewed the footage have described it as a “disgusting” way in which Nichols lost his life at the hands of the Memphis police. They also expressed hope that the criminal accountability for the officers’ actions will bring justice for Tyre. President Biden, in anticipation of the public’s reaction to the video, called for calm and peaceful protest. He also stated that as the Department of Justice conducts its investigation and state authorities continue their work, he stands with Tyre’s family in this call for peaceful protest.
“Sickened by what I saw” – The attorneys for Tyre Nichols’ family stated that the brutal beating of Nichols highlights the urgent need for change and reform in policing procedures, specifically during low-threat scenarios such as a traffic stop. All five officers charged with Nichols’ murder have been taken into custody.
However, attorneys for two of them have announced that their clients will be posting bail. Blake Ballin, attorney for former officer Desmond Mills Jr, stated that his client and his family are currently experiencing a lot of anxiety and pain not only for his situation but also for the negative impact this incident has had on the city. David Rausch, Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, expressed his disgust at what he saw and learned during the investigation.
District Attorney Mulroy added that Nichols’ family is in shock, describing him as an almost perfect son, who loved skateboarding and sunsets over Shelby Farms Park. Derrick Johnson, President of the NAACP, a civil rights group, commented that while the victims of police violence can be named, no laws have been passed to address the issue.
Source: Guardian News