February 1, 2023

Tyre Nichols’ family attorney says video shows police beating Nichols like a ‘human pinata’

6 min read


Family lawyer Tire Nicholasa black man who died after a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee, said video footage showed he suffered a “non-stop beating” by police.

“He was defenseless the whole time. He was a human piñata for these police officers. Nichols’ family and legal team watched the footage of his arrest this month, attorney Antonio Romanucci said during a news conference Monday. “It was a three-minute, non-stop, non-stop beating of the young boy without hitting him. What happened before he was rushed to the hospital in critical condition,” he said during a news conference on Monday after being given a chance to see what happened. Go, where he died several days later.

“What I saw on the video today was horrifying,” said Rodney Wells, Nicholas’ stepfather. “No, Dad, Mom has to witness what I saw today.”

The Memphis Police Department has fired five police officers.All of them are black, after an administrative investigation found they violated department policies on use of force, duty to intervene and rendering aid, the department said in a statement.

Memphis police confirmed on Twitter Monday that police and city officials met with Nichols’ family to watch the video recording, which Chief Cyrilleen Davis indicated would be released publicly later.

“Transparency remains a priority in this case, and premature release could adversely affect the criminal investigation and judicial process,” he said. “We are working with the district attorney’s office to determine an appropriate time to publicly release the video recording.”

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Milroy told “CNN This Morning” on Tuesday that officials are working to speed up their investigation so they can release the footage and decide whether the officers involved should face charges. Will have to face.

“I know people are very, very concerned about this. I think this incident has the potential to undermine trust in the fairness of our police force and criminal justice system,” he said.

The Jan. 10 death of Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, follows a number of recent, high-profile cases in which police used excessive force against members of the public, particularly young black men.

Attorney Benjamin Crump compared the footage at the family’s news conference, saying that “once again, we’re seeing evidence of what happens to black and brown people from a simple traffic stop.” The beating of Rodney King in 1991 By officers of the Los Angeles Police Department. “Simple traffic stops. You shouldn’t be killed because of a simple traffic stop.

“It’s horrible. It’s sad. It’s disgusting,” Crump said of what he saw. “It’s violent. It’s disturbing on every level.”

Tyre Nichols' mother cries as she consoles Nichols' stepfather at a news conference in Memphis on Monday.

Nichols’ mother, Raven Wells, was unable to watch the first minute of the footage, Crump said, after Tire asked, “What did I do?” At the end of the footage, Nichols can be heard calling for his mother three times, the attorney said.

Crump, who was joined by Nicholas’ mother, stepfather, grandmother and aunt, said the family described Nicholas as “a good kid” who enjoyed skateboarding, photography and computers.

Wells was visibly upset throughout the news conference. She called her son a “beautiful soul” who loved her so much, she had his name tattooed on her arm. “Nobody’s perfect, well, nobody,” Wells told reporters. “But he was so close.”

Nicholas died It comes three days after the department said officers pulled over a motorist, identified as Nichols, for allegedly driving recklessly the previous day.

A confrontation ensued, and “the suspect fled the scene on foot,” police said said in a statement on social media. Officers gave chase, and another confrontation occurred before the suspect was taken into custody, the statement said.

“Subsequently, the suspect complained of difficulty breathing, at which time an ambulance was called to the scene. The suspect was transported to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition,” officials said.

Nicholas died a few days later. According to the Tennessee Bureau of InvestigationWhich is being investigated. The Department of Justice and the FBI have also launched civil rights investigations.

Two members of the Memphis Fire Department who were part of Nichols’ “initial patient care” were relieved of duty last week “pending an internal investigation,” the department’s public information officer, Quanisha Ward, told CNN. told Nadia Romero of Ward did not provide further details, saying she could not comment further because of the ongoing investigation.

Nicholas ran from the police, his stepfather said, because he was scared.

“Our son ran away because he feared for his life,” Rodney Wells said Monday. “He didn’t run away because he was trying to get rid of drugs, guns, any of that. He ran because he feared for his life. And when you watch the video, you’ll see why he was scared for his life.

Details about Nichols’ injuries and cause of death have not been released. CNN has reached out to the Shelby County Coroner for comment.

The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office expects to release video of Nichols’ arrest this week or next, a spokeswoman told CNN on Monday, city officials said, from the officers’ body-worn cameras. The recorded video will be released publicly. The police department’s internal investigation was completed and the family had an opportunity to review the recording.

“(The video) should be made public, it’s just a matter of time,” communications director Erika Williams said Monday. Williams declined to characterize the nature of the video. Asked if authorities expected charges against the officers involved in Nichols’ arrest, Williams said, “Charges, if any, could be announced later this week.”

District Attorney Milroy said Tuesday that officers have chosen not to release the footage yet to protect the integrity of the investigation. Investigators don’t want potential suspects or witnesses to watch videos and “form their statements” based on what they saw, but instead base their statements on their own independent recollections.

“We do not want to compromise the ongoing investigation,” he said.

Pictured above, from left, are former officers Justin Smith, Emmett Martin III and Desmond Mills and below, from left, Demetrius Haley and Tadarius Bean.

The Memphis Police Department last week identified the officers who were fired as Tadarius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmet Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith.

“The serious nature of this incident is not a reflection of the good work that our officers carry out with integrity every day”. Chief Davis said On time.

The Memphis Police Association, the union representing officers, declined to comment on the firing, saying the city of Memphis and Nichols’ family “deserve a full accounting of the events leading up to his death.” And what role it can play in it.”

Asked Tuesday if officers, regardless of race, could be affected by the department’s poor training or the actions of other officers, Milroy said, “I think the answer to all of those questions is yes.” ”

“I think all of those things could be a factor,” he said. “And I hope that this incident, as tragic as it is, can lead to a broader conversation about reforming our police department, including de-escalation training and things of that nature.”

According to Crump, some of these former officers were part of MPD’s “organized crimes unit” and were in “unmarked cars.” Nichols was tased, pepper-sprayed and restrained, Crump said.

According to the attorney, Nichols was 6-foot-3 and weighed about 140 pounds. “They weighed more than that,” Crump said. “Why did they feel the need to use that kind of force?”

Nichols’ stepfather said the family won’t stop until they see the police officers involved charged.

“As I’ve said from day one, justice for us is murder. Anything less than that, we will not accept,” Wells said.

But he urged any potential protesters to remain peaceful. Violent protests “were not what Tire wanted,” he said, “and it’s not going to bring it back.”

Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify with the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office that charges may be announced later this week.

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