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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (KTTV) - Police in Memphis released the body camera footage showing the moments leading up to the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols, an unarmed 29-year-old Black man who was pulled over by officers.
On January 7, Nichols was pulled over by police over an alleged traffic violation. Nichols' family claims the 29-year-old was trying to take pictures of the sunset.
Prior to the video release, police claim a confrontation took place as officers approached the car and Nichols ran. After catching the 29-year-old father, "another confrontation" broke out while taking Nichols into custody, police said before releasing the video. Nichols died at the hospital three days after being pulled over.
The graphic videos have since been released to the public. The videos, which are not suitable for viewers of all ages and viewer discretion is strongly advised, can be viewed here.
Police in Memphis released the body camera footage showing the moments leading up to the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols, an unarmed 29-year-old Black man who was pulled over by officers. Video: City of Memphis.
Prior to the video release, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis had called the officers' actions a failure to the community.
"This is not just a professional failing, this is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual," she said Wednesday.
Davis added on Wednesday that the five officers and others who were involved in his death "failed our community, and they failed the Nichols family. That is beyond regrettable."
Police in Memphis surround Tyre Nichols after a traffic stop. VIDEO: City of Memphis
In one of the videos, one of the officers pulled out what appeared to be a stun gun, Nichols then tried to run off and a brief foot chase ensued. Once police caught Nichols, the officers began beating him. As police stood over Nichols, one of the officers was heard saying "You wanna get sprayed?"
Nichols then yells out, "Mom!" as he slowly starts to sit up, it appears one of the officers sprayed him – possibly pepper spray – then repeatedly says "Give me your hands." Officers then continued the struggle with Nichols.
In the other video clip, Nichols appeared possibly unconscious – meaning he was no longer a threat to police – one of the officers used a baton to beat Nichols as police propped up Nichols.
Later on in the video, another clip showed Nichols in handcuffs sitting on the pavement, leaning against a vehicle as officers wait for the fire department. Once paramedics arrive on scene, Nichols can be seen slumping over and the paramedics trying to get him back up.
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Memphis police chief says there is no video evidence of him driving recklessly in the first place.
Since the incident took place, five officers were charged in Nichols' death: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith. All five of the police officers are Black.
Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., Demetrius Haley, Tadarrius Bean (Memphis Police Department)
The five officers were fired from the department about 11 days after the traffic stop incident. Each face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnappings, official misconduct and official oppression.
It was revealed Friday morning, hours before the video release, that four of the five officers posted bond and were released from jail. Mills, Smith and Bean each had a $250,000 bond, while Martin and Haley had a $350,000 bond.
Prior to the video release, Nichols' mother urged the public to protest in peace. During a vigil Thursday night, RowVaughn Wells pleaded with the nation to demonstrate peacefully in her son's memory.
"I don't want us burning up our cities, tearing up the streets because that’s not what my son stood for," Wells said Thursday. "And if you guys are here for me and Tyre, you will protest peacefully."
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Tyre Nichols' mother urges peaceful protest: 'I don't want us burning up our cities'
If you're in distress due to recent incidents of violence, please know that there is help is available. Talk to experienced counselors at the Disaster Distress Helpline for 24/7 emotional support. Call or text 1-800-985-5990. Click here for additional resources.
Here in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement acknowledging the City of Memphis' decision to release the beating videos. LAPD called Nichols' death "inexcusable" and vowed to "ensure the lawful expression of the public's anger and frustration is protected."
LAPD is keeping a close watch in case of possible local protests but is "prepared to facilitate those wishing to exercise their First Amendment rights."
LAPD Chief Michel Moore issued a statement minutes after the Friday evening video release, calling the Memphis PD officers' actions "grotesque" and "incredibly disturbing, cruel and inhumane."
Moore added the video angered him not only as a police officer but also as an American.
"This behavior goes against every principle of the law enforcement profession and is in direct contradiction to the dedication and sacrifice of the vast majority of our members who strive to protect and to serve. The violation of trust tarnishes our badge and has a caustic effect on the public's trust. The Los Angeles Police Department strives each day to build trust and events such as this are sobering reminders of how quickly that can be lost."
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna also issued a statement in response to the Memphis police officers' actions:
"Due to the irreprehensible actions of five former law enforcement officers, an inexcusable tragedy transpired in Memphis, Tennessee, that resulted in the death of Tyre Nichols.
No words can ease the pain of the Nichols’ family during this difficult time. I stand with you in anger and frustration in watching the video footage.
I want the County of Los Angeles residents to know we are here to protect everyone."