Tyre Nichols: Video shows him calling for his mother, beaten by officers now charged

Editor’s Note: This article contains graphic descriptions of violence.


Tyre Nichols screamed for his mother and Memphis police officers struck him multiple times – including in the face while his hands were restrained – toward the end of the Black man’s deadly encounter with the officers this month, video released by the city shows.

The city on Friday night released body camera and surveillance video of the January 7 traffic stop and beating that led to the 29-year-old’s death in hospital three days later – video the city’s police chief warned would show a “disregard for life.”

The footage drew stunned reaction from law enforcement experts CNN interviewed Friday: “It’s clearly excessive force,” former New York City police Lt. Darrin Porcher said. “What’s even more troubling is, no officer was wiling to intervene and say, ‘Stop.’ “

Live updates: Memphis to release Tyre Nichols arrest videos

President Joe Biden is “outraged and deeply pained” after seeing the video, he said. “It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day.”

Five Memphis officers – who also are Black – were fired this month and then charged Thursday over Nichols’ death from his injuries in a hospital January 10. Police nationwide have been under scrutiny for how they treat Black people, particularly since the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd in May 2020 and the mass protest movement known as Black Lives Matter.

The basics of the encounter were this: Police pulled Nichols over in Memphis in what they initially said was on suspicion of reckless driving. After officers pulled him out of his car, a struggle ensued and he ran away; minutes later, officers would catch up with him and hit him numerous times, video shows.

Moments from the videos include:

• During the initial encounter after the stop, Nichols sounded calm, body cam video from an officer arriving at the scene shows.

As the officer approaches the scene, an officer is yelling at Nichols to “Get the fuck out of the car.”

Officers pull Nichols out of the vehicle and someone is heard saying, “Get the fuck on the ground and turn his ass around.” Nichols responds by saying, “I didn’t do anything,” and, “Alright, I’m on the ground.”

Officers yell at him to lie down and threaten to tase him. One officer tells him, “Bitch put your (hands) behind your back before I break them.”

Nichols can be heard telling them, “You guys are doing a lot right now. I am on the ground.”

A struggle ensues. Nichols gets up and runs, and the officers chase him.

• A different body-cam video shows some of what happens when officers catch Nichols on a neighborhood street minutes later.

Nichols screams for his mom as the video shows an officer arriving at this scene.

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Video: Lawyer shares Nichols called out for his mom 3 times

Officers tell Nichols to “give them his hand,” as a struggle ensues on the ground. An officer asks Nichols, “Do you want to get sprayed again?”

Two officers hit and kick Nichols as he is on the ground.

Nichols screams: “Mooooom!” and continues to call for his mom for a while.

An officer is eventually heard yelling at Nichols: “I’m going to baton the fuck out of you. Give me your fucking hands.”

• A remotely operated pole-mounted police surveillance video in the neighborhood gives the clearest view of the blows. This shows officers hitting Nichols at least nine times without visible provocation.

When the camera first turns toward the scene, an officer shoves Nichols hard to the pavement with a knee or leg. Nichols is pulled up by his shoulders and then kicked in the face twice.

After being pulled up into a sitting position, Nichols is hit in the back with what appears to be a nightstick. After being pulled to his knees, Nichols is hit again.

In this still from video released by the City of Memphis, officers appear to spray Tyre Nichols with pepper spray.

Once pulled to his feet, the video shows officers…

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