US braces for protests as Memphis police release gruesome footage of the assault on Tyre Nichols

People take part in a protest on the day of the release of a video showing police officers beating Tyre Nichols, at a protest in New York. (Photo: Reuters)

Saturday, officials in the city of Memphis, Tennessee, in the United States released video of the vicious assault on Tyre Nichols, a Black man, by five police officers charged with murder. Nichols, 29, died in the hospital three days after the January 10 confrontation with the five Black policemen, who have been fired and charged with second-degree murder, assault, kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression.

The four-part clip was obtained from body-mounted police cameras. The disturbing images depict the officers kicking Nichols and repeatedly beating him with a police baton. RowVaughn Wells, Nichols' mother, stated that no mother should ever experience what she did. Despite the severity of Nichols' injuries, the footage reveals he was not sent to the hospital until 30 minutes after the attack, as reported by Guardian. Nichols is heard pleading in the footage released by police, "I didn't do anything."

Cities on alert

As a result of the release of the gruesome footage, Memphis and other major US cities are on high alert, and US Vice President Joe Biden has called for peace. Biden stated that he was "outraged" and "deeply pained" after viewing the video from Memphis. Reuters said that Memphis police chief Cerelyn Davis and attorneys representing Nichols' family, who viewed the footage with Nichols' relatives before its distribution, warned that the pictures were gruesome and likely to create outrage while begging for calm. Family members of Nichols also urged for calm protests.

People are trickling onto the streets of Memphis with signs reading "Justice for Tyre Nichols" and demanding a stop to police brutality, according to news accounts.

Approximately 65 per cent of Memphis's 628 thousand population are Black. Early school dismissal was scheduled, and Saturday morning events were cancelled. Following the film's broadcast, law enforcement authorities in several major cities, including New York, Atlanta, and Washington, stated that they were preparing for possible protests. NBC news reported that police in New York City had made at least three arrests at a rally near Times Square.

Nichols's death has rekindled the topic of institutional racism in the US criminal justice system and is the most recent high-profile instance of police officers killing a Black man. In 2020, the murder of George Floyd, another Black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis provoked a global outcry. The United States was shaken by the "Black Lives Matter" demonstrations that spilt into the streets.

What happened to Nichols

Although police have not released a detailed report, the terrible events that led to Nichols' murder began at a traffic light. Nichols was stopped by police for alleged "reckless driving," after which authorities sprayed him with pepper spray during "an altercation." He attempted to run, but a second altercation ensued, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said at a news conference on Friday to announce the charges. In its initial statement on the death, the Memphis Police Department stated that an ambulance was called because Nichols "complained of having a shortness of breath" and that he was transported to the hospital in serious condition.

Publish : 2023-01-28 09:16:00

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