Wednesday, March 29, 2023

NYC protests possible as video of officers beating Tyr Nichols is released

what to know

  • Ty Nichols, 29, was arrested in Memphis on Jan. 7 for alleged reckless driving; Police initially said there was a confrontation, he ran and a second confrontation occurred; He ended up in the hospital and died three days later. Condemnation of those who view body camera footage has been universal.
  • Nichols’ family accused the police of beating him so hard that he suffered a heart attack and kidney failure; The five fired Memphis officers, all of whom are also black, who were involved in the case were charged with murder.
  • Body camera footage of the beating is expected to be released on Friday, encouraging police departments across the country to use officers with caution and protect the right to peaceful protest.

NEW YORK — The nation’s largest police force is advising its roughly 36,000 officers to be vigilant on the job for the next few days as the NYPD and other police departments across the country prepare for a possible wave of protests against police brutality. Shocking body camera footage showing the beating that led to the death of an African-American man in Tennessee is expected to be made public this Friday.

Law enforcement and public officials, including those from the Memphis Police Department, who watched the Tyr Nichols video expressed dismay across the board in what appears to be a unified condemnation that sometimes seems to be disbelief in the corruption. An ominous foreshadowing of what the public will see later.

A day before the planned video release, federal prosecutors charged five ex-Memphis police officers involved in the Nichols case with murder and other crimes, perhaps another tacit acknowledgment of their concern that the material could provoke an extreme public backlash. . Five officers who were fired after an internal investigation this month are also black.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams says it has been particularly difficult for him to digest, both personally and professionally.

When Adams was asked about this, he said, “I advocated for 100 blacks in law enforcement at the time and for years as a civil rights activist… To see that five black officers are involved, it really shocks me.” personally hurt.” Nichols at an unrelated Metro safety briefing on Friday. “I have always believed that diversifying our departments with different ethnic groups will allow us to provide the level of oversight we all deserve.”

Adams said he would look at the images after they were released, but reportedly “feels like these officers are tarnishing the work that many of us are trying to accomplish.”

As for potential protests, the mayor said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, like his counterparts across the United States, was strategizing with his top aides and the department to ensure that peaceful protests could continue.

Adams said of the NYPD, “They are fully prepared to allow New Yorkers to peacefully express their concerns.”

Gov. Cathy Hochul, who attended Friday’s MTA briefing with Adams, said the New York State Police was prepared as well. Meanwhile, he tells everyone to pay attention to the words Nichols’ mother spoke earlier in the day.

Hochul said, “On behalf of his family and his 4-year-old son, if you are going to protest, please do so peacefully in memory of your son.” “This is something we all need to take seriously.”

Tyr Nichols, the 29-year-old father of a 4-year-old boy, died in a hospital three days after a confrontation with police on Jan. 7 during a traffic stop in Memphis. The FedEx worker was pulled over for reckless driving minutes from his home as he was returning from taking sunset photos at a suburban park that evening.

In a statement a day later, police said a “confrontation occurred” as officers approached the car and Nichols fled. Another “happened” when they approached it.

Body cameras captured a series of as yet publicly undisclosed events surrounding the beating. Nichols’ family saw him on Monday.

One of his attorneys, prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump, said the officers beat him like a “human piñata” for three minutes. Crump compared Nichols’ arrest to the infamous beating of Rodney King by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1991, describing the encounter as “violent” and “problematic on every level”.

Another lawyer for the family described the images as “wild” and outside the scope of the crime’s justification. Some people who saw the video said it showed a shocking level of police brutality, but Nichols’ mother said she had not yet seen any footage.

“I’ve never seen the video, but from what I’ve heard it’s horrific. Terrible,” said his mother, Rowavon Wells.

Nichols, who was shocked, pepper sprayed and videotaped, and heard his mother’s screams, was taken to the hospital after complaining of difficulty breathing. Family members accused the police officers of beating him so mercilessly that it caused Nicholas a heart attack and kidney failure.

Before Thursday, officials had said only that Nichols had experienced a medical emergency. The US Department of Justice has launched a civil rights investigation into the matter. The results of the autopsy have not been published.

Nichols’ family wanted all five officers to be charged with first-degree murder, and Crump said it was irrelevant the fact that they were of the same race. He said it underscores the general and long-standing racial disparities surrounding traffic stops.

Despite their anguish and outrage, the family of Tyra Nichols calmed down a bit on Friday, praising Tennessee law enforcement for their swift action on the fire officers and charging each of them with murder by a grand jury. Nichols’ mother and stepfather urged Americans to remain calm, even though recordings of Memphis traffic are predictably dire.

“We don’t want a riot. We don’t want a disturbance. We want a peaceful protest,” said Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather, as he was surrounded by civil rights leaders.

He said consequences for police officers accused of brutality traditionally take months, but in this case, the five officers accused of beating Nichols were fired and charged with murder in only three weeks. Crump said that should be a “model to follow”.

“He can no longer tell us that we had to wait six months to a year, even though we have video evidence of excessive force,” the lawyer said.

Adams echoed what Nichols’ mother and stepfather said.

“My message to New Yorkers is to respect the wishes of Mr. Nichols’s mother. If you need to express your anger and displeasure, do so in a calm manner.”

The city of Memphis has been wary of releasing police footage because of the potential for riots, and officials at all levels of government have strongly condemned the allegations, promising change in recent days.

Memphis Police Chief Cerelin Davis said the recording would last about an hour, calling the video of the incident “horrific, dangerous, depressing, tragic.” Davis described the specialized “street crime” unit involved in traffic stops as “off the rails”.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland issued a remorseful statement Thursday night, saying, “It’s clear these officers violated department policies and training. But we will do everything we can to prevent this from happening again.” We are launching an external and independent review.” regarding the training, policies and operations of our specialized units”.

“Finally, I am saddened and angry for the family of Tyra Nichols. I am also angry for the many fine men and women of the Memphis Police Department who dedicate their lives to serving our citizens,” he said. “We must all work to win back the public’s trust and work together to heal the wounds caused by these incidents.”

Lawyers for two of the accused former police officers urged the public to reserve judgment on their clients until they have their day in court.

Law enforcement departments are preparing for possible protests across the country. Police in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Washington, DC issued similar warnings to the New York Police Department on Friday.

The New York Police Department has stated, as in all cases involving potential protests, that it will support the right to peaceful protest. However, given the disturbing nature of the images, authorities have been urged to take extra precautions.

Violent protests broke out in all five boroughs in late spring 2020 following the death of George Floyd in police custody. More than 160 buildings were set on fire. Police vehicles were set on fire. Molotov cocktails were thrown and shops were looted. Days of protests were rife with allegations of misconduct, fueled partly by protesters from other states bent on stoking more chaos and national division in the run-up to the presidential election.

Dozens were arrested and more than 100 NYPD officers were eventually cited for misconduct.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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