Body camera footage was released Friday evening allegedly showing the interaction between former Memphis Police Department officers and Tyre Nichols that allegedly led to Nichols’ death.
Following the release of the footage, multiple news outlets reported that a group of protesters had marched onto the I-55 bridge, blocking all lanes as of approximately 8 p.m. eastern time. The Memphis Police Department issued a warning on Twitter to “avoid the area if possible.”
Please avoid the area if possible. pic.twitter.com/VsOOJ7gfTt
— Memphis Police Dept (@MEM_PoliceDept) January 28, 2023
Five former Memphis Police Department officers were arrested and charged in connection to the incident for their alleged involvement in the death of the 29-year-old male, who died earlier this month in a hospital days after the confrontation.
Nichols died on January 10, three days after Memphis police pulled him over in a traffic stop, local media reported. Nichols, and the five former police officers involved, are black.
Authorities stopped Nichols on January 7 for “reckless driving” near Raines Road and Ross Road in Memphis.
Police told local media that during the stop, a “confrontation occurred,” at which point Nichols ran away from police on foot as they attempted to apprehend him.
“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.”
Officials released the following four videos from the incident [WARNING: Graphic content]:
Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmit Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith have all been charged with two counts of official misconduct, local media reported, with one count of official oppression, second-degree murder, aggravated assault-act in concert, and two counts of aggravated kidnapping.
Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, told CNN on Friday that those who protest her son’s death should not riot because that is not what her son would have wanted.
“I don’t want us burning up our cities, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for,” Wells said. “And if you guys are here for me and Tyre, then you will protest peacefully.”
“When my husband and I got to the hospital and I saw my son, he was already gone,” Wells said. “They had beat him to a pulp.”
“He had bruises all over him. His head was swollen like a watermelon. His neck was busting because of the swelling. They broke his neck. My son’s nose look like a S,” she said. “They actually just beat the crap out of him. And so when I saw that, I knew my son was gone, the end. Even if he did live, he would have been a vegetable.”
Brandon Drey contributed to this report.