Former President Barack Obama responded Saturday to the death of Tyre Nichols after Memphis police released graphic bodycam and surveillance video showing him being brutally beaten by five police officers.
In a joint tweet, Barack and Michelle Obama said that Nichols death is “painful reminder” for America.
“The vicious, unjustified beating of Tyre Nichols and his ultimate death at the hands of five Memphis police officers is just the latest, painful reminder of how far America still has to go in fixing how we police our streets,” the Obama’s said.
Nichols died days after Memphis police stopped him for alleged “reckless driving” on Jan. 7. During the traffic stop, officials say that a “confrontation occurred,” which led to Nichols attempting to run away from the officers.
Another confrontation occurred after officers caught up with Nichols, and left the man complaining about shortness of breath.
“While attempting to take the suspect into custody, another confrontation occurred; however, the suspect was ultimately apprehended,” MPD said. “Afterward the suspect complained of having shortness of breath, at which point an ambulance was called to the scene.”
Nichols was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Memphis in critical condition, but later died on Jan. 10.
Shortly before releasing the video relating to Nichols’ traffic stop, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said that the officers’ conduct was “beyond George Floyd.”
“So, you know, I would have to say that this video illustrates images that I’ve never seen in my career before perpetrated by police officers. You know, for me, it was beyond Rodney King. For me, it was beyond George Floyd. Just the manner in which these officers physically asserted themselves to Mr. Nichols. And even the aggression with language was appalling,” Davis said.
Nichols can be heard saying “I didn’t do anything” in the body camera video as officers yanked him out of the car during the traffic stop.
“Watch out, I’ma baton the f— out you,” one officer says.
In the video, officers are seen punching, kicking, and striking Nichols with a baton several times.
Five former Memphis police officers were fired after the incident and are being charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault as well as other charges.