Memphis, Tennessee Before the release on Friday of a video showing a traffic stop that resulted in the death of a 29-year-old Black driver, Memphis after-school activities were suspended, and President Joe Biden called for nonviolent protests.
Tyre Nichols, a FedEx employee who loved to skateboard and had a son who was 4 years old, was stopped on January 7. After what the police initially referred to as “confrontations” with cops, he was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Three days later, he passed away. Police have not provided many specifics about what happened during the stop, but according to Nichols’ family and attorneys, footage of the incident shows officers hitting Nichols for many minutes.
In connection with the killing of Nichols, five former policemen who were fired last week were charged on Thursday with second-degree murder and other offenses. Following the release of the footage, which is anticipated to happen about 6 p.m. CT, Nichols’ family and politicians, including Biden, are urging for nonviolent demonstrations.
At a candlelight vigil on Thursday night, Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, cautioned the gathering that the video is “horrific” and begged supporters to “protest in peace.”
She declared, “I don’t want us to burn down our city or tear up the streets because it is not what my son stood for.” You guys will protest peacefully if you are here for me and Tyre. You can make your argument, but we don’t need to destroy our cities because we must live there folks.
Prior to the release of the “appalling” clip, federal officials called for peaceful protests.
After charges against the five former cops were revealed, Biden said Nichols’ family deserved a “quick, full, and fair investigation” into his death and called for “peaceful protests.”
“We cannot ignore the truth that tragic contacts with law enforcement have disproportionately affected Black and Brown individuals,” Biden said, reiterating his push for policing reform legislation that was delayed in Congress last year.
The encounter’s video was described as “appalling” by FBI Director Chris Wray on Friday.
Before any demonstrations took place in response to the release of the film, both Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland pleaded for “calm.”
The traffic stop in Memphis was “highly dubious,” according to the police chief.
The claim that Nichols was driving recklessly prior to the stop has not been proven, according to Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis, who added that “the stop itself was very problematic.”
According to Davis, who earlier referred to the incident as “heinous, reckless, and brutal,” more police are the subject of an inquiry.
Memphis after-school programs are postponed
All Friday after-school activities were canceled by Memphis-Shelby County Schools “out of an excess of caution.” Officials at the school stated that they would keep an eye on things and decide on Friday night whether or not to cancel Saturday’s events.
According to a statement from the school system, “our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Tyre Nichols and everyone across the Mid-South affected by this tragedy.”
According to counsel, two former policemen will enter a “not guilty” plea.
Desmond Mills Jr. and Emmitt Martin III, according to defense attorneys Blake Ballin and William Massey, will enter a not-guilty plea to the charges brought against them in relation to the death of Nichols. The defense lawyers said they had not yet seen the video of Nichols’ death.
No one present that evening had Tyre Nichols’ demise in mind; according to Massey, it’s shocking.
With the knowledge that there’s more to the story, Ballin said he hopes viewers of the video will watch it.
On Thursday, it remained unclear which attorney was in charge of the three other policemen accused of killing Nichols.
During the traffic stop, what happened to Tyre Nichols?
According to a statement from Memphis police, Nichols was stopped by officers at 8:30 p.m. on January 7 on suspicion of careless driving, and a “confrontation” allegedly followed. According to authorities, Nichols ran away, was apprehended, and another “confrontation” took place. What transpired during those “confrontations,” according to the police, is unclear.
Later, according to the police, Nichols “complained of a shortness of breath” and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
According to preliminary autopsy results, Nichols “suffered considerable bleeding caused by a brutal beating,” according to a joint statement from Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, attorneys for Nichols’ family.
During the “unadulterated… beating of [Nichols] for three minutes,” Romanucci claimed, Nichols received “kicks” and was subjected to “several applications of force.”
Tyre Nichols’ death has been blamed on five cops.
Indicted on one count of second-degree murder, two charges of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct, and one count of official oppression are each former officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III, and Desmond Mills Jr., according to court documents.
The five guys, who are all of black descent, were all released on bond on Thursday after being held at the Shelby County Jail with bonds ranging from $250,000 to $350,000.
The Tennessee Penal Code stipulates that second-degree murder carries a sentence of 15 to 60 years in prison.
A spokesman for the fire department in Memphis announced that two additional firemen had been “relieved of duty” while an internal review into their conduct during the stop is being conducted.
Contributing: The Associated Press