A long nocturnal beating, with fists, feet, truncheons: the United States discovered this Friday evening with horror the extremely shocking video of the fatal arrest of Tire Nichols, an African-American who died in the 29 years old.
The images, in particular from the police body cameras, show the violence inflicted for long moments by the five members of the police, following a roadside check in Memphis, in the State of Tennessee, on January 7.
The man notably told them several times that he was “just trying to go home”.
Read alsoUnited States: what we know about the death of Tire Nichols after his brutal arrest
The first images, captured by the police pedestrian cameras, show them driving, chasing a car.
When it stops, the policemen, all African-Americans, rush in, shouting: “Get out of this car!
Get out of that fucking car”.
Tire Nichols doesn't even have time.
One of the policemen tries to extract him with violence from the vehicle.
United States: 5 police officers charged with murder after the brutal arrest of Tire Nichols
We then hear the young man trying to calm things down: “I didn't do anything”, “I just want to go home!
The policemen around him are shouting louder: “Lie down!
"Okay, I'm lying down."
The police keep yelling, visibly in panic.
He then tries to free himself.
Sprayed with irritating gas and targeted by a Taser, he nevertheless manages to escape.
The following video is horribly violent.
Tire Nichols is on the ground, held down by two police officers.
One of them gives him a first knee, it's the beginning of a beating in order.
A third policeman approaches, truncheon in hand and hits the man on the ground twice.
“They reduced him to a pulp”
A fourth comes forward when his colleagues manage to straighten Tire Nichols.
And he also strikes, but with his fists, five times, directly in the face of the person he is supposed to challenge.
The blows rain down, he remains standing for a moment before collapsing to the ground.
Long seconds follow or the man gesticulates on the ground before he is dragged to a car where the police will try in vain to keep him seated, leaning against the door.
For a brief moment, the camera passes over his face, he is swollen and covered in blood.
The last image shows the flashing light of an ambulance, which only arrives after about twenty minutes.
Three days after this beating, Tyler Nichols died in a hospital in Memphis.
“When my husband and I arrived at the hospital and I saw my son, he was already dead.
They had reduced him to mush.
He had bruises everywhere, his head was swollen like a watermelon,” RowVaughn Wells, Tyre Nichols’ mother, said in tears in an interview broadcast by CNN.
Early protests took place Friday in various cities across the country, including Washington and Memphis.
In the city of Tennessee, a hundred demonstrators also temporarily blocked a bridge, none were arrested.
In New York, more than 200 people marched chanting "No justice, no peace", three arrests were made, reports CNN.
Tire Nichols remembered in protests across the US pic.twitter.com/N2hEobCLoI
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) January 28, 2023
In a sign that the case is potentially explosive, US President Joe Biden urged that the rallies be "peaceful" and spoke on the phone in the afternoon with the mother and father-in-law of Tyre Nichols.
He also declared himself "scandalized" and "deeply bruised", a few minutes after the publication of the video.
My heart goes out to Tire Nichols' family and to Americans in Memphis and across the country who are grieving this tremendously painful loss.
There are no words to describe the heartbreak and grievance of losing a beloved child and young father.⁰⁰Here's my full statement.
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 28, 2023
“It is a painful new reminder of the deep trauma and fear, pain, and exhaustion that African Americans experience every day.
(…) The images broadcast this evening shock people in a justified way”, recognized Joe Biden in a press release on Twitter, in which he added however that “those who wish to obtain justice must not resort to violence or destruction” .
Precedents that marked the United States
His death recalls that of African-American George Floyd, killed by a police officer in May 2020. Demonstrations against racism and police violence then engulfed the country, united around the slogan "Black Lives Matter"
(Black lives matter )
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Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis has warned that the video showing the man being stopped for a simple traffic violation was “comparable, if not worse” to that showing the violent police arrest of Rodney King in 1991. The acquittal, a year later, of the four police officers involved, triggered unprecedented riots in Los Angeles, which caused the death of 60 people.