UPDATE: Aysha Qamar
According to Shelby County Jail booking information, the five Memphis police officers fired last week were jailed and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and kidnapping, The Washington Post reported. The arrest follows Memphis police announcing their plans to release the body-camera footage this week.
Even as investigations into the brutal death of Tyre Nichols continue, Memphis police officials have announced that not only will body cam footage be available soon but that the officers accused of violating department policies were “directly responsible” for the “physical abuse” that led to the Black man’s death following a traffic stop.
In a video statement released Wednesday, Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis said that while other officers remain under investigation in connection to alleged policy violations during the Jan. 7 stop, at least five officers terminated last week were found to be “directly responsible for the physical abuse of Mr. Nichols.”
Davis called the incident “heinous, reckless and inhumane.”
“Aside from being your chief of police, I am a citizen of this community, we share; I am a mother, I am a caring human being who wants the best for all of us; this is not just a professional failing,” Davis said. “This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual … and in the vein of transparency when the video is released in the coming days, you will see this for yourselves.”
According to The Guardian, while the video has not been publicly released, Nichols’ family members and their attorney were able to see it on Monday.
Referring to the body camera footage, Davis said: “I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels. I expect you to feel outrage in the disregard of basic human rights, as our police officers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video.”
According to preliminary results of an autopsy commissioned by his family, Nichols died as a result of “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating,” CNN reported. The 29-year-old was pulled over for alleged reckless driving; after his “confrontation” with police, he complained of shortness of breath and was taken to a local hospital in critical condition, police said.
“We can state that preliminary findings indicate Tyre suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating, and that his observed injuries are consistent with what the family and attorneys witnessed on the video of his fatal encounter with police on January 7, 2023,” attorney Benjamin Crump said in a statement.
According to The Guardian, in 2022 alone at least 1,176 police-involved killings were reported. The record-high number comes just three years after George Floyd was murdered at the hands of Minneapolis police, resulting in protests across the country demanding that police be held accountable for brutality.