MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The city of Memphis, and the country, is awaiting release of video showing the traffic stop that resulted in the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols earlier this month.
The video is set to be released by the city of Memphis sometime after 6 p.m. (CT) Friday. It will be available here after its release. It is expected to contain footage from officer body cameras as well as pole-mounted SkyCop cameras.
Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis said she wasn’t prepared for what she witnessed in the video.
“In my 36 years in law enforcement, I don’t think I have witnessed the disregard for a human being displayed in this video,” Davis said Friday morning.
Law enforcement and some local residents were preparing for the possibility of protests after the release Friday. But Nichols’ family asked all demonstrations to remain peaceful.
“We want peace. We do not want any type of uproar. We do not want any type of disturbance,” said Rodney Wells, Tyre Nichols’ stepfather. “Please, please, protest, but protest safely.”
Five Memphis Police officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith — were fired for misconduct, and indicted by a grand jury Thursday and taken into custody.
Each is charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct and official oppression. By Friday morning, they had posted bond.
Police stopped Nichols near his home in the Hickory Hill neighborhood around 8:22 p.m. Jan. 7. There was an altercation between Nichols and several officers and pepper spray was deployed, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said.
Nichols fled on foot before a second confrontation with police. He experienced “serious injuries” at this location, Mulroy said, and later was taken away by ambulance.
Mulroy said there was an “elapsed period of time” before an ambulance was called.
The actions of the officers, who were members of MPD’s special SCORPION Unit, have been swiftly criticized by those who have viewed the video.
“Since learning of this tragic event, transparency and swift methodical action have been our top priorities because the family of Mr. Nichols and our citizens deserve nothing less,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said. “The actions of these officers were awful, and no one, including law enforcement, is above the law. I assure you we will do everything we can to keep this type of heinous act from happening again.”
Strickland said the city is initiating an outside, independent review of the training, policies, and operations of our specialized units.
“Since this event happened, the SCORPION Unit has been and remains inactive,” Strickland said.