by Viviana Mazza, correspondent from New York
Police released video of the arrest of Tire Nichols, 29, yesterday: He was beaten to death by police who stopped him for speeding. His last words: Mama, Mama, Mama
From our correspondent in New York
Beaten to death by five police officers, Tire Nichols, 29, repeated: What have I done? Mom, mom, mom were her last words, captured on video by officers’ body cameras and a security camera 300 feet from her home in Memphis, Tennessee. A story that disturbed and outraged the police authorities themselves, who posted the video on YouTube last night. Nichols, an African American man, a 4-year-old son, was pulled over from his car by five officers, also black, at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, January 7. Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith were fired and then charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping.
Brutal footage appears to show officers beating Tire Nichols while his hands are pinned down, hitting him at least nine times in less than four minutes https://t.co/OT0JBClDqN
— CNN (@CNN) January 28, 2023
The police report mentions a speeding stop; but Cerelyn Davis, Memphis’ first black female police chief, said there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Nichols, and compared her beatings to those of Rodney King that sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Parents and authorities, including President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland, who have launched a separate investigation, have repeatedly called for the protests to be peaceful. The five police officers are part of a unit called Scorpion (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods), formed in 2021 to restore peace in our neighborhoods after crime and violence increased in Memphis.
Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, representing Nichols’ parents, is calling for his dissolution: Other innocent black citizens who were stopped, beaten and threatened by this unit while looking for drugs and weapons had reported their abuses to police, but they were not heard . Even when the five officers stop Nichols, there is an inexplicable level of aggression, the police officer notes. He attempts to flee on foot, and the mere fact that he does so incites the agents’ wrath. They first use pepper spray and tasers, then beat him for three minutes after catching him.
Crucial, more than the bodycam footage, was that of a camera on a neighborhood lamppost: while we hear the officers lie at one point, as if speaking to their bodycams, claiming the suspect tried to smack one steal When they have the gun, the overhead camera shows the wanton brutality of their actions. They use a detachable metal baton, hitting it repeatedly, one kicking it like a soccer ball, father Rodney Wells noted. The most important thing – for him – is the fact that there are maybe ten agents and no one tries to stop the beating of my son, not even after that: they smoke cigarettes as if all is quiet. They lean him against the car, he collapses, and an officer yells, “Sit down, son of a bitch,” but handcuffed. You have to raise him more than once. But nobody helps him.
Two firefighters don’t help (they’ve been suspended) and Davis, the police officer, suspects the same for the paramedics involved that night. It wasn’t just a professional failure – he says – but a human failure towards another human being. Half an hour later, Nichols is able to tell him that he can’t breathe and is taken to the hospital. Police warned the mother, RowVaughn Wells, but – she said – banned her from reaching her son and claimed he was under arrest. At 4 a.m. the doctor calls her and asks her why she is not in the hospital: her son is going into cardiac arrest.
When his mother arrives at the hospital, Tyrus was no longer with us. He died three days later. The autopsy requested by the family would confirm internal bleeding caused by the beating. Memphis is a city of 628,000 people, a third of whom are black. The skin color of the five officers is another reason for grief and indicates that reform of police culture is needed. The attorney praised the speed with which the indictment was filed in less than twenty days; Noting that previous cases of African Americans killed by police have taken more than a year: That speed and quickness is now what we expect, even when the officers are white, he stressed.
Even George Floyd cited his mother, who disappeared two years earlier, after his death. Nichols chose to speak at a news conference yesterday alongside the photo of her son, taken in hospital, bruised all over, his head swollen like a melon, his neck and his nose broken. She remembered her boyfriend as a young man who adored his mother enough to tattoo her name and who, after working as a FedEx courier, often went at dusk to photograph the sunset, like that evening . He demanded justice: a law named after Tyre, real police reform.
January 28, 2023 (change January 28, 2023 | 03:13)
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