Three weeks ago, Nichols was pulled over by the police at a traffic control. An arrest that proves fatal to him a few days later.
More than an hour of footage released last night shows how 29-year-old Nichols is removed from his car by officers. The images of the police can be seen below (note: they can be experienced as shocking):
The officers threaten (‘Put your hands behind your back, or I’ll break…’) and swear profusely, while Nichols says ‘he didn’t do anything’ and ‘just wants to go home’.
Nichols is taken out of the car and held to the ground. When the police deploy the stun gun, he runs away. Officers go after him and try to stop him with pepper spray and again the use of the stun gun. One officer can be heard shouting ‘I hope they hit him hard’.
Moments later, Nichols can be seen lying on the ground with officers around him, restraining him. The images are chaotic and shocking. For example, Nichols is beaten several times with a baton by an officer. He is also kicked, which also hits his head.
Nichols shows no signs of resistance during the outburst of violence, which lasts about three minutes. He keeps calling for his mother. He would live nearby.
Erik Mouthaan: ‘Excessive violence used’
“It is clear that the officers use excessive force,” says correspondent Erik Mouthaan. “The unarmed man is kicked several times in the face, beaten with a baton and with the full fist and his face is held up so that he can receive many doses of pepper spray in his eyes. When the officers finally get him under control and he’s handcuffed against a car, they don’t seem interested in how he’s doing. Former police chiefs in the United States call it an outrageous act.”
What preceded the moment Nichols’ car was stopped is not apparent from the videos. Five black officers, who had already been fired for excessive force, were charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault on Thursday.
Demonstrations were held in various American cities last night in response to the images released. In Memphis, among others, where the arrest took place, people have taken to the streets. Protests have also been held in cities such as New York and Atlanta.
US President Biden has also seen the images. He says he is “outraged and deeply hurt.” Nichols’ death is a painful reminder of the deep anguish and trauma, pain and exhaustion that black Americans still experience every day.
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