WARNING: THE FOLLOWING STORY AND VIDEO CONTAIN GRAPHIC VIOLENCE THAT MAY BE DISTURBING TO VIEWERS. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
MEMPHIS – Descriptions of Tyre Nichols’ fatal encounter with Memphis police officers fall short of capturing the shocking events shown in three officer body cam videos, and one silent clip from a light pole camera – all newly released Friday.
The bird’s eye view video shows several offices beating the 29-year-old FedEx worker and father to a 4-year-old boy.
Members of a special anti-street crime unit, dubbed “SCORPION,” initially stated they pulled over Nichols the evening of Jan. 7 for alleged reckless driving. But Memphis police brass now say there is no evidence to support that claim.
The video shows officers pulling Nichols out of his vehicle. Nichols yells out, “I’m on the ground.” He later says, “You guys are really doing a lot right now. I’m just trying to go home!”
Moments later, Nichols manages to get up and tries to run away. An officer’s stun gun misses its mark.
When the officers catch up with Nichols, he is only about 100 yards away from his home. That’s where the light pole camera shows the bulk of the beating.
Punches, kicks, baton strikes – all as Nichols can be heard on the video, desperately screaming out to his mom for help. Nichols’ mother spoke at a news conference Friday.
“But for me to find out that my son was calling my name, and I was only feet away, and I did not even hear him. You have no clue how I feel right now. No clue,” RowVaughn Wells said.
Nichols died of his injuries three days later. Memphis police chief CJ Davis fired five of the responding officers – all of them Black – from the department. Just weeks later, they now face several criminal charges, including second-degree murder.
The family hired attorneys Benjamin Crump and Antonio Romanucci.
“This SCORPION Unit was designed to saturate under the guise of crime fighting, and what it ended up doing instead was creating a continual pattern and practice of bad behavior,” Romanucci said.
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said race still too often plays a tragic role in encounters between law enforcement in Black and Brown communities.
“This is about law enforcement in America, and this is how Black and brown communities have to deal and interact with law enforcement,” Williams said.