Tyre Nichols’ brutal beating by police shown in shocking video

Tyre Nichols died three days after sustaining serious injuries. Credit: Nichols family

Protests gathered in cities across the United States as authorities released footage showing police officers repeatedly beat a young black man.

Tyre Nichols died in hospital on January 10, three days after five officers held the black motorist down and struck him with their fists, boots and batons while he screamed for his mother.

The video is filled with violent moments showing the officers, who are also black, chasing and pummelling the 29-year-old and leaving him on the pavement propped against a police car as they fist-bump and celebrate their actions.

The footage was released one day after the officers were charged with murder in Mr Nichols’ death in Memphis, Tennessee.

The chilling images of another black man dying at the hands of police renewed tough questions about how fatal encounters with law enforcement continue even after repeated calls for change.

Protesters gathered for mostly peaceful demonstrations in multiple cities, including Memphis, where several dozen demonstrators blocked the Interstate 55 bridge that carries traffic over the Mississippi River toward Arkansas.

Protesters marched through Memphis on Friday night. Credit: AP

In Washington, dozens of protestors gathered in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House and near Black Lives Matter Plaza.

The Nichols family legal team has likened the assault to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.

What does the bodycam footage show?

The recording shows police savagely beating the FedEx worker for three minutes while screaming profanities at him throughout the attack.

After the first officer roughly pulls Mr Nichols out of a car, he 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!”

Mr Nichols calmly says: “OK, I’m on the ground."

“You guys are really doing a lot right now,” Mr Nichols says. “I’m just trying to go home.”

“Stop, I’m not doing anything,” he yells moments later.

Mr Nichols can then be seen running as an officer fires a Taser at him. The officers then start chasing him.

Warning: There are distressing images of police violence towards Tyre Nichols in this report by Robert Moore

Other officers are called, and a search ensues before Mr Nichols is caught at another junction.

The officers beat him with a baton, and kick and punch him.

Security camera footage shows three officers surrounding him as he lies in the street cornered between police cars, with a fourth officer nearby.

Two officers hold Mr Nichols to the ground as he moves about, and then the third appears to kick him in the head. Mr 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 Mr 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 Mr Nichols. The officer strikes

Mr Nichols on the back with the baton three times in a row.

The other officers then appear to hoist Mr Nichols to his feet, barely able to stay upright.

An officer then punches him in the face, as the officer with the baton continues to menace him. Mr Nichols stumbles and turns, still held up by two officers. The officer who punched him then walks around to Mr Nichols’ front and punches him four more times. Then Mr Nichols collapses.

Two officers can then be seen atop Mr Nichols on the ground, with a third nearby, for about 40 seconds. Three more officers then run up, and one can be seen kicking Mr Nichols on the ground.

As Mr Nichols is slumped up against a car, not one of the officers offers aid. The body camera footage shows a first-person view of one of them reaching down and tying his shoe.

There appeared to be 'no justification for the traffic stop'

It takes more than 20 minutes after Mr Nichols is beaten and on the pavement before any sort of medical attention is provided, even though two fire department officers arrived on the scene with medical equipment within 10 minutes.

Throughout the videos, officers make claims about Mr Nichols’ behaviour that are not supported by the footage or that the district attorney and other officials have said did not happen.

There is fury among protesters right across the US

In one of the videos, an officer claims that during the initial traffic stop Mr Nichols reached for his gun before fleeing and almost had his hand on the handle, which is not shown in the video.

After Mr Nichols is in handcuffs and leaning against a police car, several officers say that he must have been high.

Later an officer says no drugs were found in his car, and another officer immediately counters that Mr Nichols must have ditched something while he was running away.

Authorities have not released an autopsy report, but they have said there appeared to be no justification for the traffic stop, and nothing of note was found in the car.

The video raised questions about the role and possible culpability of the other officers at the scene, in addition to the five who were charged.

The footage shows a number of other officers standing around after the beating.

Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis has said other officers are under investigation for their part in the arrest.

Mr Davis described the five officers' actions as “heinous, reckless and inhumane."

During the traffic stop, the video shows the officers were “already ramped up, at about a 10”, she said.

The officers were “aggressive, loud, using profane language and probably scared Mr Nichols from the very beginning.”

What will happen to the police officers?

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.

'Blood is in the police department's hands': Protesters in Memphis speak out over another death at the hands of officers

The officers each face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. Four of the five officers had posted bond and been released from custody by Friday morning, according to court and jail records.

Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison under Tennessee law.

Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner said in a statement late on Friday that two deputies who appeared on the scene after the beating have been relieved of duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Patrick Yoes, the national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, condemned the alleged actions of the Memphis officers.

“The event as described to us does not constitute legitimate police work or a traffic stop gone wrong. This is a criminal assault under the pretext of law," Mr Yoes said in a statement.

As state and federal investigations continue, Mr Davis promised the police department’s “full and complete cooperation."

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