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


Video showing Nichols’ “non-stop beating” of Nichols’ pictures, lawyers for the family of the black man who died after a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee, said.

“He was unarmed the whole time. He was a human piñata to these police officers. It was a shameless, non-stop beating of this little boy for three minutes,” lawyer Antonio Romanucci said during a press conference on Monday.

Earlier Monday, Nichols’ family and his legal team viewed footage of Nichols’ arrest earlier this month, giving them a chance to find out what happened before he was taken in critical condition to hospital, where he died days later.

“What I saw on video today was horrific,” said Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather. “Father and mother do not have to witness what I saw today.”

Attorney Benjamin Crump compared the videos to the 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles Police Department officers.

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

Ravon Wells, Nichols’ mother, was unable to watch the first minute of the footage after hearing Tyre ask, “What have you done?” Crump said in the video. At the end of the tape, the attorney said, Nichols can be heard calling out to his mother three times.

Crump, who was joined by Nichols’ mother, father-in-law, grandmother and aunt, said the family described Nichols as a “good kid” who enjoyed skateboarding, photography and computers.

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

Memphis police confirmed in the current situation On Twitter, police and city officials met with Nichols’ family to allow them to view the video recordings, which Chief Serene Davis indicated would be publicly released at a later date.

“Transparency remains a priority in this incident, and an early release could negatively affect the criminal investigation and judicial process,” she said. “We are working with the Attorney General’s office to determine the appropriate time for the video recordings to be released publicly.”

The death of Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, on January 10 follows a number of recent high-profile cases involving police using excessive force towards members of the public, particularly young black men.

“Once again, we see evidence of what happens to people of color and black people from simple traffic stops,” Crump said. Minor traffic stop. You shouldn’t get killed just because of a traffic stop.”

The Memphis Police Department terminated five police officers, all black, in connection with Nichols’ death on Jan. 10, three days after the department said officers had pulled over a motorist, identified as Nichols, for reckless driving the day before.

A standoff ensued, and the suspect “fled from the scene on foot,” police said He said in a statement on social media. He was chased by officers and another confrontation took place before the suspect was arrested, the statement said.

After that, the suspect complained of shortness of breath, at which time an ambulance was called to the scene. Officials said the suspect was taken to St Francis Hospital in critical condition.

Nichols died a few days later, According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigationwho achieves. The Department of Justice and the FBI also opened a civil rights investigation.

Two members of the Memphis Fire Department who were part of Nickels’ “primary patient care” were relieved last week “during an internal investigation,” department public information officer Kwanisha Ward told CNN’s Nadia Romero. Ward did not elaborate, saying she could not comment further due to the ongoing investigation.

His stepfather said Nichols ran from the police because he was afraid.

“Our son ran away because he feared for his life,” said Rodney Wells. “He didn’t run because he was trying to get off no drugs, no weapons, no anything like that. He ran because he was afraid for his life. And when you watch the video, you will see why he feared for his life.”

Details of Nichols’ injuries and the cause of his 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 either this week or next, a spokesperson told CNN Monday, about a week after city officials said the video, recorded by the cameras worn by the officers, would be made public after an internal investigation is completed. to the police station and the family was given the opportunity to review the recordings.

“It (the video) has to be public, it’s only a matter of time,” said Erica Williams, director of communications.

Williams declined to describe the nature of the video, saying it would not be appropriate to comment on it until the family has seen it.

Asked if officials expect charges against the five officers involved in Nichols’ arrest, Williams said, “The charges, if any, could be announced later this week.”

The Memphis Police Department’s administrative investigation found that the five terminated officers — identified by the department as Tadarius Beane, Demetrius Haley, Emmett Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — violated policies on the use of force, duty to intervene and duty to the police, the department said in a statement. Offer help.

“The awful nature of this incident is not a reflection of the fine work our officers do with integrity every day,” he said. said Police Chief Sirlyn “CJ” Davis.

The Memphis Police Association, the union representing the officers, declined to comment on the terminations, going beyond saying that the city of Memphis and Nichols’ family “deserve to know the full account of the events that led to his death and what may have contributed to it.”

According to Crump, some of these former officers were part of the MPD’s “Organized Crime Unit” and were in “unmarked cars”. Crump said Nichols was petting, pepper spraying and busting.

Nichols was 6-foot-3 and weighed about 140 pounds, according to the attorney. “They outdid him,” Crump said. “Why did they feel they needed to use this kind of strength?”

Nichols’ stepfather said the family will not stop until they see the police officers involved charged.

“As I have said from day one, justice for us is first murder. Anything less, we will not accept it,” said Wells.

But he called for any potential protesters to be peaceful. He said the violent protests were “not what Tyre wanted, and that won’t bring him back.”

Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify that the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office expects to announce charges later this week.

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