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As residents of Memphis, Tenn., and millions around the nation anxiously await the release of body cam footage showing five officers viciously beating an unarmed Tyre Nichols, who later died, the Memphis Police Chief went on CNN to warn the country of the gruesome scene they would soon witness.
“You’re gonna see acts that defy humanity. You’re gonna see a disregard for life, duty of care that we’re all sworn to, and a level of physical interaction that is above and beyond what is required in law enforcement,” Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis told CNN’s Don Lemon Friday morning.
The MPD announced on Wednesday that the footage would be released Friday at 6 p.m. ET.
“Individuals watching will feel what the family felt, and if you don’t, then you’re not a human being,” Chief Davis added.
Tyre Nichols beating by MPD officers
Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was hospitalized after the violent arrest on January 7 and died three days later from injuries sustained, according to police. The altercation began over a traffic violation. Fearing the aggressive demeanor of the five officers, Nichols fled before being captured and beaten.
Five officers from the Memphis Police Department, who are also Black, were fired and face criminal charges at a speed rarely seen in this country.
Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin and Desmond Mills Jr., have each been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two charges of aggravated kidnapping, two charges of official misconduct and one charge of official oppression.
The former officers have already been released on bond, according to WREG.
Two Memphis, Tenn., fire department employees have also been “relieved of duty” while an internal investigation is conducted in connection with the death.
Tyre Nichols’ mother asks for peaceful protests
The offending officers are all Black, but when it comes to police brutality, the Nation’s justice correspondent Elie Mystal poignantly professed why viewers should see this incident as no different than any other case of police brutality.
“The race of a cop is “cop.” *Never* be under the illusion that a Black cop is less likely to brutalize you or kill you,” Mystal tweeted.
Explaining their timing for releasing the video, MPD said they wanted to first give the family of Tyre Nichols time to see the gruesome footage.
Nichols’ mother is asking for supporters to be peaceful during demonstrations, saying at a vigil in Memphis on Thursday that she wants “each and every one of you to protest in peace.”
“I don’t want us burning up our cities, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for,” Wells said. “And if you guys are here for me and Tyre, then you will protest peacefully.”
Yet as police continue to kill over 1,000 civilians each year, according to Mapping Police Violence, while gaining even higher budgets, it’s doubtful that justifiable outrage will be simmered by kind words.
“Mr Nichols was able to get away from these officers and they found him again at another location and at that point there was an amount of aggression that is unexplainable,” Chief Davis told CNN.
“Even in the worse situations when there is resistance, officers still have a responsibility to exercise care and regard for any individual that’s in custody.”
A GoFundMe page verified by a company spokesperson has been created to help support Tyre Nichols’ family. If you would like to donate, click here.