The Tyre Nichols body cam footage video, which was recorded by the body cameras of Memphis police officers, was leaked on social media platforms such as Twitter and Reddit. The footage shows the officers’ interaction with 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, who died in the hospital days after he was arrested in a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee.
City councilman Straightforward Colvett Jr. has described the footage as “nauseating” and “appalling”. He said, “I have spoken to several people who have actually seen the video. I have been told it’s nauseating, it’s hurtful; it’s bad even somewhat.”
On January 20, the Memphis Police Division announced that five of its officers had been fired for violating “various department policies, including unnecessary use of force, failure to intervene, and failure to provide aid.”
Nichols was pulled over on January 7 on suspicion of “reckless driving,” according to a previous statement. However, a confrontation ensued and he fled the scene on foot. The officers – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Plants Jr., and Justin Smith – followed and arrested him.
It was reported that “afterwards, the suspect complained of having difficulty breathing, and an ambulance was called to the scene. The suspect was transported to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition.” Nichols died from his injuries on January 10.
The five Memphis officers involved in the tragic death of Tyre Nichols have officially been relieved of their duties.
During the arrest, the officers were accused of violently beating Nichols, a skateboarder and trying photographic artist, until he complained of difficulty breathing. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died three days later. A photo of Nichols in the ICU, showing him with a severely beaten face that has been described as “unrecognizable” by his loved ones, has been circulating online.
On Monday, the Memphis Police Division announced that Officers Justin Smith, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Plants Jr., and Emmitt Martin III were terminated. The decision followed an internal administrative review that found each officer violated the division’s duty to intervene and provide aid when serious injury has occurred. Nichols’ family has accused them of beating him mercilessly until he experienced a heart attack and kidney failure.
Before the official announcement, authorities met with Nichols’ family and their attorneys to show them the bodycam footage. Lawyer Antonio Romanucci said the officers, who were all Black, treated the unarmed man as a “human piñata.” Civil rights attorney Ben Crump compared the beating to that of Rodney King in 1991, whose acquittal of the officers who attacked him led to riots in Los Angeles the following year.
The bodycam footage will be released to the public within the next two weeks. The terminated officers will have the opportunity to appeal their terminations at a hearing on Friday.