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The video of the fatal beating of Tire Nichols puts the US before the mirror of police brutality


The young man died in Memphis from beatings received during an arrest for which five officers, African-American like the victim, are accused of murder. The ambulance took 22 minutes to reach the scene

A protest (“I haven't done anything!”), a plea (“I'm just trying to get home”) and an anguished cry for help (“Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!”) resounded Friday night in United States (early Saturday morning in Spain), after the publication of a brutal video in which five police officers from Memphis (Tennessee) can be seen (and heard) give a fatal beating to Tire Nichols, a young man from 29 years.

Three days later, the boy died in the hospital from the beatings.

After almost a week of refusal, the city authorities finally released the recording of what happened that night, and the country stopped what it was doing to see with its own eyes an event that captured national attention throughout the week.

The broadcast has once again placed the United States before the mirror of police brutality and sparked protests, mostly peaceful, in some cities, starting with Memphis, and continuing with Sacramento, where the victim lived;

New York, where the window of a police car ended up in pieces;


Atlanta or Washington, the city in which the protesters defied the low temperatures to congregate in the vicinity of the White House.

In a custom rooted since the 2020 protests,

After a week of postponing the inevitable, Memphis police released video Friday of the fatal beating of 29-year-old Tire Nichols by five officers while he was returning to his mother's house on the 7th. recording, the protests took to the streets of several cities in the US. In the image, several agents detain a protester during the demonstration in New York City, on Friday.


Demonstrators during the protest over the death of Tire Nichols in New York (USA), on Friday.

In the series of recordings, the police officers are seen trying to reduce the suspect next to his car, before the man, from the ground, manages to break free and escape on foot.

Several minutes later, they catch up with him after a chase and the rain of punches, clubs and kicks begins, as well as the discharges of tasers.ANDREW KELLY (REUTERS)

Several people block traffic on Interstate 55 in Memphis on Friday.

In the most violent recording, you can see how the agents beat Nichols and the body of the suspect goes from one place to another, handcuffed, like a piñata that receives the attacks of the agents, helpless. SCOTT OLSON (Getty Images via AFP)

Protest over the death of Tire Nichols in Times Square in New York on Friday.

Three days after the beating, the man died in the hospital.

MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO (Getty Images via AFP)

The authorities asked for calm in anticipation of the protests that the publication of the video could cause.

In the image, demonstration for the death of Nichols, in Los Angeles on Friday.


Several protesters block traffic in the city of Memphis on Friday.

SCOTT OLSON (Getty Images via AFP)

A woman is detained during a protest in New York City on Friday.

MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO (Getty Images via AFP)

A person holds the burned US flag during protests in New York on Thursday.

MICHAEL M. SANTIAGO (Getty Images via AFP)

Several protesters, during the traffic closure of Interstate 55 in Memphis. SCOTT OLSON (Getty Images via AFP)

Protest over the death of Tire Nichols in the streets of New York on Friday.


In total, the fatal incident recorded on video lasted almost an hour, which was recorded by four different recordings.

Three correspond to the body cameras of the police officers involved;

all five are African American, like the victim.

A fourth, without sound, was taken by a security camera perched on a pole.

This is the one that gives a better idea of ​​the cruelty of the agents with Nichols, who offered no resistance during the three interminable minutes that ended his life.

He was kicked in the head at least twice while he was on the ground, sprayed with


and pepper sprayed and hit with a baton three times.

In the most disturbing moment, he is seen standing defenseless, at the mercy of the blows, receiving at least six punches while one of the policemen holds him by the hands.

The victim's family was able to view the recording on Monday, and we now know what one of his lawyers meant when he later said that the police had used Nichols as "a human piñata."

What nobody could expect is the part that follows the beating.

There you can see the young man lying on the ground, seriously injured, leaning against a police car, while the five uniformed officers -already accused, among other serious crimes, of murder- tell the agents who are arriving their version of the facts, while joking with each other and moving around trying to catch their breath.

Those images apparently came as a surprise to the

sheriff as well.

from Memphis, Floyd Bonner, who has suspended two of his assistants after seeing them on the recording and has launched an investigation to clarify responsibilities.

“Reckless Driving”

What is not clear from the footage is why it took 22 minutes between the end of the beating and the arrival of the ambulance, which took him to a hospital 15 minutes away by car.

They also do not support the version of the police officers, who assured that they arrested Nichols for "reckless driving."

Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis, who has shown a determined and empathetic profile during the crisis, declared Friday that, after reviewing the recordings of cameras placed in the area where the events occurred, she had no evidence. that Nichols had broken any traffic rules.

In the first of the videos, you can see how two agents stop him and the suspect manages to get away when they already had him on the ground and they were shocking him with an electric gun.

There begins a chase that ends eight minutes later, when the reinforcements have already arrived, in a corner 30 meters from Nichols's mother's house, where the boy, a parcel delivery man fond of photography and


and father of a four-year-old boy went to have dinner, like every night, with the family.

Lawyer Ben Crump with the relatives of Tire Nichols, during a press conference on January 27 in Memphis.

SCOTT OLSON (Getty Images via AFP)

The parents, who have been at the center of a whirlwind of tragedy and media attention all week, have fought, along with lawyer Ben Crump, a personality in the United States for his defense of the civil rights of African-Americans, to ensure that the case it does not fall, like so many others, into the oblivion of a country in many ways immunized by the endless cycle of daily violence.

To ignite the memories, Crump related this case to the media and that of Rodney King, who was beaten by a group of agents in 1991 in Los Angeles picked up by the cameras.

King survived, and a jury acquitted the policemen, sparking several days of street riots in the city in 1992.

American public opinion did not need, however, anyone to refresh its memory about the parallels of the latest episode of police abuse with what happened in 2020 when the African-American George Floyd died of suffocation under the weight of the knee of the white agent Derek Chauvin.

Those images still present in the conversation in this country unleashed a wave of anti-racist protests around the Black Lives Matter movement that crossed borders and promoted global awareness.

Throughout the week, the authorities and the family themselves have called for the protests to be peaceful this time.

The last to join was President Joe Biden.

“Like many of my countrymen, I am outraged and deeply pained to see the horrifying video of the beating that killed Tire Nichols,” he said in a statement released shortly after the footage was made public.

“It is yet another painful reminder of the deep fear and trauma, the pain and exhaustion that black and colored Americans experience every day.”

Crump himself, a seasoned lawyer, seemed determined to help calm things down when he congratulated himself on Friday for the speed with which the authorities have prosecuted the attackers, which he hopes will serve as an example for future cases of police abuse.

Crump also suggested that the proceedings may have been hastened by the fact that the five defendants are black.

They were addressed by Nichols' mother on Friday afternoon.

“To the five police officers who murdered my son, I want to say that you also dishonored your own families when you did what you did,” RowVaughn Wells said at a news conference.

“I am going to pray for them and theirs, because after all, this should not have happened.

This simply should not have happened.

We want justice for my son."

Wells also shared the uneasiness of knowing that he was "so close to home" desperately calling out to her without her being able to hear him.

“You have no idea how I feel right now,” he added.

The agents belonged to a special unit called SCORPION, created in 2021 to patrol the areas of Memphis with the highest crime and insecurity rates.

The name hides some acronyms that correspond, in Spanish, to Operation Street Crimes to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods.

Video capture showing some of the police officers involved in the brutal assault on Tire Nichols in Memphis on January 7. AP

These units have been created in recent years throughout the country due to the rise in insecurity.

The places where these squads operate often coincide with the neighborhoods where minorities are concentrated.

One of the family's lawyers said this week that this explosive mix takes the brunt of the violence and oppression of young people and non-whites, and that these special units are used to acting with impunity.

The city's mayor, Jim Strickland, announced Friday that the SCORPION group had been disbanded.

Its five indicted members (Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith) now face prison terms of up to 60 years for only one of the crimes, murder.

They are also charged with aggravated assault or kidnapping.

Meanwhile, the authorities of the big American cities woke up the day after the publication of the video holding their breath at the possibility that the new protests, which have already been called, dye the Saturday night ritual with violence.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-01-28

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