(Daily Mail) Days after sickening footage was revealed of the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, several questions remain including why he was pulled over in the first place and what was ultimately his cause of death.
The footage has left many unanswered questions about the traffic stop involving the black motorist and the role played by police officers who stood by as he lay motionless on the pavement.
The five disgraced Memphis Police Department officers, who are also black, have been fired and charged with second-degree murder and other crimes in Nichols’ death three days after the arrest.
The video released Friday also renewed questions about how fatal encounters with law enforcement continue even after repeated calls for change.
Days after sickening footage was revealed of the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, several questions remain including why he was pulled over in the first place and what was ultimately his cause of death
The recordings show police savagely beating Nichols, a 29-year-old FedEx worker, for three minutes while screaming profanities at him
The recording shows police savagely beating Nichols, a 29-year-old FedEx worker, for three minutes while screaming profanities at him in an assault that the Nichols family legal team has likened to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.
Nichols calls out for his mother before his limp body is propped against a squad car and the officers exchange fist-bumps.
Memphis Police Director Cerelyn ‘CJ’ Davis has said that other officers are under investigation, and Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner said two deputies have been relieved of duty without pay while their conduct is investigated.
Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather, said the family would ‘continue to seek justice,’ noting that several other officers failed to render aid, making them ‘just as culpable as the officers who threw the blows.’
The arrest was made by the so-called Scorpion unit, which has three teams of about 30 street officers who target violent offenders in areas beset by high crime. The unit has since been disbanded.
What was the probable cause for the initial traffic stop?
Questions swirled around what led to the traffic stop in the first place.
One officer can be heard saying that Nichols wouldn’t stop and then swerved as though he intended to hit the officer’s car.
The officer said that when Nichols pulled up to a red light, the officers jumped out of the car.
‘We tried to get him to stop,’ the officer sad. ‘He didn’t stop.’
Officers also initially said Nichols was pulled over for reckless driving, but on Friday police said there was no police evidence to back up such claim.
Indeed, the video footage that was released only started after police confronted him at an intersection. The initial traffic stop does not appear to have been filmed but it is not clear why.
Chief Davis said the department cannot substantiate the reason for the stop.
‘We don’t know what happened,’ she said. ‘All we know is the amount of force that was applied in this situation was over the top.’
Nichols’s car is seen being pulled over at 8:24pm in south eastern Memphis on January 7
Why did the cops accused of murdering Nichols treat him so brutally – and did any of them know the victim previously?
After the first officer roughly pulls Nichols out of a car, Nichols can be heard saying, ‘I didn’t do anything,’ as a group of officers begins to wrestle him to the ground.
One officer is heard yelling, ‘Tase him! Tase him!’
Nichols calmly says, ‘OK, I’m on the ground.’
‘You guys are really doing a lot right now,’ Nichols says. ‘I’m just trying to go home.’
‘Stop, I’m not doing anything!’ he yells moments later.
Nichols is also initially compliant with the officers’ requests although he is confused by their hostility towards him and lies on the ground as told to while police try to handcuff him. It’s unclear if he had any prior encounters with any of the cops involved.
Nichols can then be seen running after an officer fires a Taser at him. His mother’s home, where he lived, was only a few houses away from the scene of the beating, and his family said he was trying to get there. The officers then start chasing Nichols.
Other officers are called, and a search ensues before Nichols is caught at another intersection. The officers beat him with a baton, kick and punch him, then pepper spray him with police anger towards him only growing as the
Nichols scrambles to his feet and runs. One officer yells: ‘Taser, taser!’ Nichols continues running, taking his t-shirt partially off as he runs
Which officer did what during the violence that killed Nichols?
Security camera footage shows three officers surrounding Nichols as he lies in the street cornered between police cars, with a fourth officer nearby.
Two officers hold Nichols to the ground as he moves about, and then the third appears to kick him in the head. Nichols slumps more fully onto the pavement with all three officers surrounding him. The same officer kicks him again.
The fourth officer then walks over, draws a baton and holds it up at shoulder level as two officers hold Nichols upright, as if he were sitting.
‘I’m going to baton the f*** out you,’ one officer can be heard saying. His body camera shows him raise his baton while at least one other officer holds Nichols. The officer strikes Nichols on the back with the baton three times in a row.
The other officers then appear to hoist Nichols to his feet, with him flopping like a doll, barely able to stay upright.
An officer then punches him in the face, as the officer with the baton continues to hit him. Nichols stumbles and turns, still held up by two officers. The officer who punched him then walks around to Nichols’ front and punches him four more times. Then Nichols collapses.
Two officers can then be seen atop Nichols on the ground, with a third nearby, for about 40 seconds. Three more officers then run up, and one can be seen kicking Nichols on the ground.
As Nichols is slumped against a car, not one of the officers renders aid. The body camera footage shows one of them reaching down and tying his shoe.
Court records showed that all five former officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith — were taken into custody.
Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison under Tennessee law.