Five former Memphis police officers were charged in the death of Tyre Nichols after body cam video of him being beaten was released Friday. Law enforcement leaders in Florida were shocked by what the officers did.
The video came out a day after the police officers were charged with killing the 29-year-old. On the video, Nichols is violently pulled out of a car by a police officer, even though he says he didn’t do anything wrong.
Nichols said, “You guys are really busy right now.” “All I want to do is go home.”
The officers then beat Nichols and cursed at him for three minutes while he screamed. Nichols even screamed for his mother at one point.
“I’ll beat the f— out of you with a baton,” one officer said.
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Memphis officials named the officers as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, and Justin Smith. They are all charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression. Police said that they were also looking into how other officers were involved in Nichols’ arrest.
When the video came out, a number of law enforcement leaders in Florida criticised what the five officers did. Sheriff Bob Gualtieri of Pinellas County said that what the officers did was terrible.
Gualtieri said, “What I saw on those videos was not law enforcement; it was a street beating.” “I agree with police chiefs all over the country in strongly condemning what they did. There is no reason for it, and they all need to answer for it.”
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, who has worked in law enforcement for 35 years, said he had never seen anything so bad, and it made him “want to throw up.”
“I’m so sorry that these officers broke not only their oaths but also their humanity,” Chitwood said to everyone who was upset by the video and especially to the grieving family. “I will pray for the Nichols family tonight, even though I know it won’t make their pain go away or even lessen it.”
The death of Nichols was also called “beyond disturbing” by the police chief of North Port, Todd Garrison.
“As we watch this story unfold, it breaks my heart,” Garrison said. “We really feel bad for him and his family. We all think this is wrong.”
President Joe Biden also spoke out against police brutality, especially against “Black and Brown Americans,” and he called for a more fair legal system. But he also asked the protesters to stay calm, even though they were angry.
Biden said that people who want justice shouldn’t use violence or destruction to get it. “Violence is never okay; it’s against the law and bad for people. I agree with Mr. Nichols’s family that protests should be peaceful.
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