Images that cannot leave you indifferent. Tire Nichols, 29, was brutally beaten by police in the United States who stopped him for speeding. “Mom, mom, mom”, were the boy’s last words captured on video by the agents’ bodycams and by a surveillance camera 90 meters from his home in Memphis, Tennessee, as he kept repeating “what have I done? ”.
The Memphis authorities have released the video (attention: strong images) showing the five African American officers who stop and beat the young African American to death. The 29-year-old had been stopped for alleged reckless driving. The five police officers were charged with second-degree murder, assault, kidnapping, misconduct and abuse. They have all been fired.
The African-American boy, with a 4-year-old son, was stopped at the wheel of his car on Saturday, January 7 at 8:30, by five officers, also black: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr and Justin Smith. Tire Nichols died three days later of his injuries. “Damn, I didn’t do anything… I’m just trying to get home,” the 29-year-old yells.
Meanwhile, the agents force him to the ground while ordering him to lie down on his stomach, spraying his face with pepper spray. Nichols breaks free, gets to his feet, and runs down a street as officers chase after him, firing tasers at him. Another video shows a subsequent scuffle after officers reached Nichols again and beat him. Two policemen are seen holding him to the ground while a third kicks him and a fourth strikes with what appears to be a rod, before another officer beats him.
The police report mentions a stop for speeding; but Cerelyn Davis, Memphis’ first black female police chief, said there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by Nichols and likened her beating to that of Rodney King, which sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots . The violent images rocked America and caused protests in many cities.
Dozens of people gathered in Times Square in central New York to protest after videos of the police killing of Tire Nichols were released. According to media reports, the police arrived at the scene and there were clashes with demonstrators, which ended with some arrests. In the Tennessee city – local media report – protesters blocked the Interstate 55 bridge that crosses the Mississippi River and leads to Arkansas. In Washington, dozens of protesters gathered in Lafayette Park, near Black Lives Matter Plaza, and on K Street while in Boston they marched along Tremont Street, creating problems for city traffic. NBC reports protests also in Sacramento, San Francisco, Atlanta, Asheville, Philadelphia, Providence and Dallas.
“Like so many, I am outraged and deeply saddened to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in the death of Tire Nichols. It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, pain and exhaustion that black Americans experience every single day,” said US President Joe Biden after the release of videos of the fatal attack on Nichols by of five agents in Memphis.
Joe Biden has relaunched his appeal against violent protests over the death of Tire Nichols. “Those who seek justice – he said – should not resort to violence or destruction. Violence is never acceptable; it is illegal and destructive. I join Nichols’ family in calling for a peaceful protest.” Biden also called for “a swift, complete and transparent investigation.”
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