Biden Speaks Ahead of Release of Tyre Nichols Video

Biden urges calm ahead of footage being made public that shows cops beating man during traffic stop
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2023 7:31 AM CST
Memphis on Edge as Video in Cop Beating Set for Release
Attendees are seen at a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, in Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Friday evening is likely to be a tense one in Memphis, Tennessee, as authorities are set to release video that shows the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died three days after the Jan. 7 confrontation during a traffic stop. Police have said Nichols experienced shortness of breath and suffered a medical emergency before he was taken to the hospital; Nichols' family says the beating he received led to kidney failure and a heart attack. The five Memphis police officers, also Black, have since been fired and charged with second-degree murder, among other charges. The video, which has already been viewed by Nichols' family and their attorneys, is set to be released to the public sometimes after 6pm local time, per WTVF. More on the latest developments:

  • An appeal from Biden: Anticipating protests once the video is released, President Biden is urging Memphis to stay calm, reports the BBC. "I join Tyre's family in calling for peaceful protest," the president said in a Thursday statement. "Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable." Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn "CJ" Davis, the first Black woman in that position in the city, also called for calm, though she acknowledged a "failing of basic humanity toward another individual."
  • Questions remain: CNN runs through "what we know—and still don't know" about the case, including why two Memphis Fire Department employees were also fired after Nichols' death. "This is an ongoing investigation, and we cannot comment further at this time," an FD spokesperson tells NPR.

  • Out on bail: Four of the five accused former officers have been released from jail after posting bond, reports Fox News. Desmond Mills, Justin Smith, and Tadarrius Bean had their bail set at $250,000, while Emmitt Martin III had his set at $350,000, per CNN. The fifth man, Demetrius Haley, has yet to post his own $350,000.
  • An 'internal little gang': Authorities confirm that some of the officers involved were part of the Memphis PD's specialized SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhood) unit, now under the microscope after Nichols' death, per NBC News. While multiple cities use operations like this to combat violence, police reform advocates say they promote excessive force and spur distrust within the community. In this case, some are asking why relatively young, inexperienced cops were placed on the SCORPION unit.
  • More on Nichols: The New York Times looks more into the life of Nichols, who was a FedEx worker, amateur photographer, skateboarding aficionado, and father of a 4-year-old son. He also had a tattoo of his mom's name on his arm. "That made me proud," RowVaughn Wells tells the paper. "Most kids don't put their mom's name. My son was a beautiful soul."
(More Memphis stories.)

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