A long nocturnal beating with punches, feet and sticks: The United States witnessed this Friday evening the extremely shocking video of the fatal arrest of Tire Nichols, an African-American who died at the age of 29.
Images, notably from police body cameras, show prolonged violence by five members of the police following a roadside check in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 7. The man specifically told them on several occasions that he was “just trying to get home”.
The first images, captured by police’s pedestrian cameras, show them driving in a car chase.
When it stops, the policemen, all African-American, run in shouting: “Get out of this car! Get out of that fucking car”. Tyr Nichols doesn’t even have time. Tries to get along.
video. United States: 5 police officers charged with murder after brutal arrest of Tyra Nichols
We then hear the young man trying to play things down: “I didn’t do anything”, “I just want to go home!”. The policemen around him are shouting loudly: “Lie down! turn! ,
“Okay, I’m lying down.” The police keep on shouting in terror. He then tries to free himself. Sprayed with irritating gas and targeted by a taser, he still manages to escape.
The following video is extremely violent. Tyr Nichols is on the ground, held down by two police officers. One of them gives him the first knee, this is the beginning of the beating sequence. A third policeman arrives with a baton in hand and beats the man to the ground twice.
“they cut him down”
A fourth comes forward when his aides manage to straighten out Tire Nicholls. And he also strikes, but with his fist, five times, directly in the face of the person he has to challenge. Explosions rain down, he stands for a moment before collapsing to the ground.
The man points to the ground after a prolonged chase before he is dragged into a car where police will try in vain to keep him seated leaning against the door. For a brief moment, the camera pans over his face, it becomes swollen and covered in blood.
The last image shows the flashing lights of an ambulance, which arrives only after about twenty minutes. Tyler Nichols died in a hospital in Memphis three days after the beating.
“When my husband and I reached the hospital and saw our son, he was already dead. They had made him a mush. He had bruises all over, his head was swollen like a watermelon,” Rowan Wells, Tyree Nichols’ mother, said in tears in an interview broadcast by CNN.
Protests took place early Friday in various cities across the country, including Washington and Memphis. In the Tennessee city, a hundred protesters temporarily blocked a bridge, no one was arrested. More than 200 people marched in New York, chanting “no justice, no peace”, reports CNN. Three people were arrested.
In a sign that the case is potentially explosive, US President Joe Biden urged rallies to be “peaceful” and spoke by phone with Tyree Nichols’ mother and father-in-law in the afternoon. He also declared himself “reprehensible” and “deeply hurt” within minutes of the video’s publication.
“This is a painful new reminder of the deep trauma and fear, pain and exhaustion that African Americans experience every day. (…) The photos that circulated this evening shocked people in an appropriate way”, in a statement on Twitter that Biden, in which he said that “those who seek justice should not resort to violence or destruction”.
precedents that mark the united states of america
His death is reminiscent of George Floyd, an African-American killed by a police officer in May 2020. Demonstrations against racism and police violence set the country on fire, united with the slogan “Black Lives Matter”. (Black Lives Matter),
Memphis Police Chief Cerelin Davis warned that the video showing the man being stopped for a simple traffic violation was “comparable, if not worse” to the video showing the violent police arrest of Rodney King in 1991. The four police officers involved sparked unprecedented riots in Los Angeles that left 60 dead.
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