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The family has scheduled a news conference with its attorneys Friday to address recent developments in the case.

“Our family is grief-stricken right now and this is very hard to swallow,” Wells said at a candlelight vigil in Memphis’ Tobey Park on Thursday night.

Wells warned of the contents of the video, called it “horrific,” and asked people to protest in peace after its release. “I don’t want us burning up our cities, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for,” she said.

Romanucci described the video Monday as an “unadulterated, unabashed, nonstop beating” for three minutes. Crump has said it reminded him of “the Rodney King video,” referring to the 1991 bystander video of Los Angeles police officers beating a Black man.

“What we can tell you about the video: It is appalling, it is deplorable, it is heinous … violent,” Crump said. “And it’s very troublesome on every level, because you have to ask yourself, yet again, we’re seeing evidence of what happens to Black and brown people from simple traffic stops.” 

President Joe Biden said in a statement Thursday that Nichols’ family deserves a “swift, full, and transparent investigation.”

“Tyre’s death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all,” Biden said.

He also urged that any protests in the coming days remain peaceful, acknowledging that “outrage is understandable.”

Five officers involved in the case — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — were fired last week after an administrative investigation found they violated department policy on use of force.

More coverage on Tyre Nichols

All five officers were charged Thursday. Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told reporters their actions resulted in Nichols’ death.

Mulroy said that after an “initial altercation” when “pepper spray was deployed,” Nichols ran from the officers.

“There was another altercation at a nearby location, where serious injuries were experienced by Mr. Nichols,” Mulroy continued. “After some period of time of waiting around afterward, he was taken away by an ambulance.”  

Five Memphis, Tenn., police officers were fired in connection with a traffic stop that led to the death of Tyre Nichols. Clockwise from top left: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith and Desmond Mills Jr.Memphis Police Department via AP

Martin, Smith and Bean were charged with second-degree murder, three counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of acting in concert to commit aggravated assault, according to Shelby County Jail records.

Mills and Haley were charged with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression and one count of acting in concert to commit aggravated assault.

Two of the officers, Mills and Smith, posted $250,000 bond and were released late Thursday. Haley, Martin and Bean had remained in custody Thursday night, jail records showed. But as of early Friday, morning, jail records showed that only Haley remained behind bars.

Multiple attempts to reach the officers for comment since they were fired were unsuccessful.

Attorneys for Mills and Martin did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday, and it was unclear whether the others have retained legal representation.

Police Chief C.J. Davis described the incident as “heinous, reckless and inhumane” in a video statement Wednesday night.

“I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels,” she said. “I expect you to feel outrage in the disregard of basic human rights, as our police officers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video.”

Preliminary findings in an autopsy conducted by a forensic pathologist for Nichols’ family show he was severely beaten before he died, the family’s attorneys have said. The Shelby County medical examiner’s office hasn’t released an official cause of death.

Nichols’ case is being investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations and the U.S. Justice Department, which launched a civil rights inquiry into the traffic stop.

David K. Li and Deon J. Hampton contributed.




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