Worried about getting pepper spray from their own eyes first, Memphis officials even enjoyed a cigarette while Tire Nichols lay dying on the ground.
Shocking footage of Nichols encountering police at a traffic stop shows the moment cops pepper sprayed the 29-year-old, with one officer appearing to have accidentally pepper-sprayed himself and another.
The officers scream in pain and one then hits Nichols with a baton. A police officer was later seen asking another officer to flush his eyes with water, while the assistant officer complained that he had lost his glasses at the first traffic stop.
After the five officers beat and handcuffed Nichols, who was unable to sit up and was slumped on the floor, one of the officers could be seen lighting a cigarette and smoking when paramedics arrived.
Videos surrounding Nichols’ death continue to be scrutinized as Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. launched a new internal investigation after suspending two deputies who stood around as Nichols convulsed in pain.
A Memphis officer cried in pain as he had to wash his eyes after pepper-spraying Tire Nichols
At the scene of the arrest, where Nichols was ignored after leaving him writhing in pain, one of the officers was seen smoking a cigarette while others just stood around
One of the videos released by the Memphis Police Department shows the moment Nichols was pepper sprayed in the face after he yelled for his mother.
The spraying officer appeared to grab himself and another as they jumped away from the arrest scene, cursing and screaming in pain.
“Ah s***,” officers were heard saying as one wiped his face and walked back to where Nichols was on his feet.
‘Danger! I’m going to beat you up,” the officer said while brandishing his baton while another goon punches Nichols.
After all five officers arrive at the scene, they are heard saying, “Ah, you motherfucker made me spray myself.”
Another video shows one of the Memphis officers pacing in pain while a fellow officer pours water into his eye to rinse out the mace.
When he repeatedly requests that each of his eyes be cleaned, the aide says, “I can’t see Jack S***. My glasses when he fought me.’
The officer eventually finds his glasses and realizes he nearly got pepper spray in his own eye.
One of the officers who was hit by her own pepper spray was pacing in pain while another poured water in his eyes. The Auxiliary Officer complained about the loss of his glasses, and when the group learned of Nichols’ arrest, one said they hoped he was beaten
The arrest scene shows officers standing around, one of whom is smoking, while Tire lies dying
Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. has suspended two deputies who reacted to the scene after reviewing the video, which left him “sad and angry.”
Upon learning that other officers caught and arrested Nichols, one of them commented, “I hope they kick his ass. I hope they stomp his ass.”
At the scene of the arrest, a street camera captured the moment a group of officers beat Nichols, pinned him to the ground, and arrested him.
The 29-year-old then writhed in agony as seven officers stood over him, four of whom punched each other, ignoring the dying man.
One of them eventually pulls out a cigarette and enjoys a cigarette while chatting with his colleagues before paramedics arrive.
Sheriff Bonner has condemned the attack that left Nichols dead after he was tasered, kicked and punched in the head, hit three times with a metal baton and sprayed twice in the face with pepper spray.
“I am a second-generation law enforcement officer, and I am disturbed by what we have all seen captured on video,” Bonner said in a statement. “This horrific incident has tarnished the badge that I wear and that many other good officers wear every day.
The sheriff has since suspended two deputies and ordered a new inquest into Tire Nichols’ death after personally reviewing the disgusting video.
Bonner said: “Having seen the videotape for the first time tonight, I am concerned about two MPs who arrived at the scene following the physical confrontation between police and Tyre Nichols.
“I have launched an internal investigation into the behavior of these MPs to determine what happened and whether any guidelines were breached,” he added. “These two MPs have been suspended pending the completion of this administrative inquiry.”
Nichols died in hospital after being stabbed, kicked and punched in the head, hit three times with a metal baton and sprayed twice in the face with pepper spray
Nichols family attorney Antonio Romanucci told MSNBC that the two suspended deputies could face criminal charges, like the five who were caught on camera beating the 29-year-old.
“I will not be at all surprised if more criminal charges are filed against police officers,” Romanucci said. “Am I surprised it’s taking so long?
“I’ve been at it long enough, I’ve had to wait six months, a year to two years or not at all for the charge, so the fact that at least the administrative part is getting off.
“I think we know what’s coming next. They will also be criminally investigated,” he added. “These officials who didn’t help and didn’t intervene – they should be looked at administratively and also criminally.”
The five police officers who were fired and charged in Nichols’ death are Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith.
Charged with second degree murder are (top left to right) Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III and (bottom left to right) Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith
Tyre Nichols’ stepfather Rodney Wells (above) has called for criminal charges against the paramedics who appeared not to provide assistance after he was brutally beaten by police
They are charged with second-degree murder, assault, aggravated kidnapping, misconduct and suppression of office.
While the investigation into Nichols’ death continues, his stepfather Rodney Wells and his attorney, famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump, said the video showed other first responders should be reprimanded.
Wells is calling for criminal charges to be filed against the paramedics who appeared to be on hand after his stepson was brutally beaten, while Crump, who was questioned by a white officer present at the start of Nichols’ traffic stop, has not yet been charged.
“Everyone — the fire department, the paramedics that came out, that stood around doing nothing — they’re just as guilty,” Wells told ABC News after the video’s release.
“Anyone who was active in the whole scene, the whole video, should be charged,” he added.
The latest case of alleged police brutality has sparked a wave of protests across the country, with violent demonstrations erupting after the videos were released.
A protester was seen standing over a badly smashed police car windshield in NYC
Video of Nichols’ arrest sparked a wave of protests Friday that continued into the weekend
Protesters demanded justice as they condemned the police killing as a “war on black America”.
Pictured: Mourners place items at a memorial where Nichols was arrested and beaten
A protester was seen hurling fireworks at an LAPD cruiser during a large march in the city.
Meanwhile, in New York City, a man was photographed standing on a smashed windshield of a police vehicle.
The officers quickly dragged him down and arrested him. At least three people in the Big Apple were taken into custody as part of the protests, according to NBC New York.
Another stood over a squad car with a tattered American flag. Antifa has called out protesters to light up New York City on Friday night.
In Memphis, protesters chanted, “Say his name! Tire Nichols!’ and several dozen protesters blocked a busy bridge on Interstate 55, which is one of two main bridges connecting Arkansas and Tennessee across the Mississippi River.
Many more protests continued through the weekend in Memphis, Atlanta and Boston as protesters demanded justice for the 29-year-old.