Tyre Nichols: Mum calls for peace ahead of police bodycam footage release
The mother of Tyre Nichols calls for peace ahead of video being released of police officers arresting her son and allegedly beating him for three minutes. ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore reports from Memphis.
The US is bracing for potential unrest as police bodycam footage is due to be released following the death of a 29-year-old FedEx worker, following the arrests of five officers.
Tyre Nichols died in hospital three days after a confrontation during a traffic stop on January 7 in the city of Memphis, Tennessee.
The father-of-one had been arrested after being stopped for reckless driving, police said, before being allegedly beaten by the officers for three minutes.
A video of the traffic stop is due to be released on Friday, sparking fears that there could be civil unrest.
US President Joe Biden called for any protests to be peaceful after five men were charged on Thursday.
The officers involved in the arrest were subsequently sacked after a police investigation found they used excessive force or failed to intervene and help Mr Nichols.
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.
The men each face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression .
Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison under Tennessee law.
Mr Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells said he and his wife, RowVaughn, who is Mr Nichols’ mother, discussed the second-degree murder charges and are “fine with it.”
They had sought first-degree murder charges but “there’s other charges, so I’m all right with that,” he said.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, Mr Nichol's mother said: "People tried to say black people, we only try to go after white officers but that's not true.
"We don't care what colour the officer is, we want bad officers taken off the force.
"We know there's a lot of great officers there are bad officers too and they're the ones we need to get rid of."
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis has asked for calm when the video footage is made public, saying: "I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels."
She added: "I expect you to feel outrage in the disregard of basic human rights."
David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said he had seen the video, which was from a police body-worn camera, and said he found it “absolutely appalling.”
“Let me be clear, what happened here does not at all reflect proper policing," Mr Rausch said during a news conference.
"This was wrong. This was criminal," he added.
Both Mr Nichols’ mother and stepfather were joined by several dozen supporters on Thursday night for a candlelight vigil and prayer service at a Memphis skate park.
Mr Nichols, who has a 4-year-old son, had been an avid skateboarder.
Mr Nichols' mother warned supporters of the “horrific” nature of the video set to be released on Friday.
Mrs Wells said: "When that tape comes out tomorrow. It's going to be horrific. I didn't see it but from what I hear, it's going to be horrific.
Supporters were pictured holding candles next to handwritten cardboard signs with the words "this must stop" and "justice for Tyre" on them.
His mother thanked those who attended and said that her family is “grief stricken" but pleaded for the public to “protest in peace.”
“I don’t want us burning up our city, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for,” Mrs Wells said.
“If you guys are here for me and Tyre, then you will protest peacefully.
"You can get your point across but we don’t need to tear up our cities, people, because we do have to live in them.”
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