Videos America Doesn’t Want to See

A photo of Tyre Nichols is positioned before a Jan. 27, 2023 press conference in Memphis, Tennessee.

Photo of Tire Nichols before a press conference in Memphis, Tennessee on January 27, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In an anxious hour before the Memphis Police Department released body camera footage showing the role five officers played in the assault death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, many Americans wondered what the footage revealed. I was overwhelmed by a palpable fear of

Nichols’ mother, Lawvaughan Wells, told the Washington Post She could only watch the fatal encounter with the police for less than a minute.

“I have to stay strong, and it’s very difficult,” she told The Washington Post. , because this will be the last time I hear my son’s voice.It did something for me, and I just had to get out.”

Her son was beaten to death about 100 yards from her home, and at a news conference Friday she pleaded with other parents not to let their children see it.

“But the stories I’ve heard are very horrifying, very horrifying. If you have children, don’t let them see it,” Mr. Wells said, adding that I lost a child in the same way. , are now experiencing the loss of their children in violent ways. “

Nichols, a FedEx driver, avid skateboarder and father of a 4-year-old daughter, said the bond between mother and son was so strong that he tattooed his mother’s name on his arm, Wells said Friday. told President Biden on the phone. .

“I know that,” Biden replied. When speaking with Wells, Biden had also never seen footage of the beating. “That’s what you call special.”

Tire Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, is comforted during a press conference on Jan. 27, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Tyre Nichols’ mother, Law Vaughan Wells, comforts her during a press conference in Memphis, Tennessee on January 27, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

For those who watched the video of Nichols being murdered by police, the warning was equally grim. FBI Director Christopher Wray did not sugarcoat the image. “I saw the video myself, and I tell you, I was appalled,” Ray told reporters on Friday. , let me just say, I was appalled.”

For law enforcement officers who saw body camera footage, like Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch, there was no other way to describe it. said Thursday.

Benjamin Crump, the civil rights attorney representing the family, revealed at a press conference on Friday that the world will hear Nichols’ last words.

“He calls his mother three times. His last words on this earth are ‘Mama, Mama, Mama.’ “He’s screaming for her,” Crump said. “He said, ‘I just want to go home.'”

For those who followed the 2020 police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the historic echoes to Nichols’ last words are unmistakable, with both men calling out their mother.

The historical parallels don’t end there, as Memphis Police Chief Selene Davis testified. Interview with CNN.

“I was in law enforcement during the Rodney King case, and it’s very consistent with that kind of behavior… kind of groupthink.” Referring to videotapes of the beatings he suffered, Davis said in an interview Friday morning that led to days of rioting.

King survived the run-in with police and batons, but Nichols did not. The question that seemed to build over the course of the week was whether the latest example of police brutality was leveled against black Americans β€” the five who inflicted it. ‘s cop was also black and was swiftly charged with murder β€” whether that itself would provoke a violent response.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump speaks at a press conference in Memphis, Tennessee, surrounded by Law Vaughan Wells, stepfather and mother of Rodney Wells and Tyre Nichols.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump speaks at a press conference in Memphis, Tennessee, surrounded by Rodney Wells and RowVaughn Wells, stepfather and mother of Tire Nichols. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, said on Friday, “We are very happy with the charges. We want peace. We don’t want commotion of any kind. We don’t want any kind of disturbance, we want a peaceful protest.The family is very happy with this process, the Chief of Police and the DA.”

It was accumulation to such a video No American really wanted what they had to seeand many weren’t sure if they were right until the last moment.

But as others flocked Memphis Police Department YouTube Channel Waiting for that post, an officer recruiting clip greeted them on autoplay.

“Are you ready to start a career bigger than yourself?” the video’s narrator asks about footage of the humble skyline of Memphis. “If you want to participate in building a better future for yourself, your family, and the Memphis community, you should consider becoming a Memphis police officer.”

what the video shows

At approximately 7:00 pm ET, police released a four-part video documenting their encounter with Nichols on the City of Memphis Vimeo channel. It shows the officer pulling over Nichols and ordering him to “get the f*** out of the f*** car,” then violently pulling him over.

“I’m not doing anything,” Nichols is heard saying as the scuffle continues, pushing him to the ground.

The officer barked at Nichols to stay on the ground, to which Nichols replied, “I’m on the ground.”

“You guys are doing a lot right now,” Nichols said, threatening to taser the officer and ordering him to lie face down on the pavement.

tire nichols

Tire Nichols, a 29-year-old black man who died three days after being stopped while driving after being beaten by a Memphis police officer on January 7, sits leaning against his car.(Memphis police) / handout by Reuters)

Officers are seen punching and attempting to subdue Nichols before he manages to break free and get back on his feet. The police taser him, but he begins to flee.

The bulk of the video consists of a period in which at least two of the police officers involved in the initial brawl remain at the scene of the traffic stop, while one pours water into his eyes to wash off the pepper spray.

“I hope they stomp his ass,” said the officer, whose body camera footage was released, of Nichols.

In a soundless second video captured by a surveillance camera, Nichols is seen lying face down on the sidewalk, being subdued by three police officers. At one point, the fourth officer arrived and began hitting Nichols with a baton. Nichols then stood up and was repeatedly hit and kicked before being pushed back onto the pavement.

A third video posted by police shows the officer’s body camera, the sound of the officer beating Nichols and his mother as the officer continues to beat him and use pepper spray in his face. contains the exclamation of “Mama!” he yells at one point.

As Nichols continues to struggle and the officers see the effects of the pepper spray for themselves, their anger at the suspect grows and they increase the pace of their attack on the suspect.

In the fourth video, which consists of more body camera footage, Nichols repeatedly calls out for his mother. Nichols, handcuffed and leaning against a police car, can be seen with at least eight officers slumped beside him.

“Hey, wake up,” one of the officers said to Nichols. β€œSit up man,” he adds, holding Nichols upright on his arms.

A policeman is heard telling others that he hit Nichols with a “straight hay”.

Much like the video capturing Rodney King’s assault, the police assault on Nichols will undoubtedly be central evidence in the trial against the accused officer. It’s hard for Americans to avoid it.

That may be especially true for black Americans.