This still image from a Memphis Police Department body-cam video released on January 27, 2023, shows a police officer aiming a tazer towards Tyre Nichols, in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis Police Department/AFP via Getty Images

Bodycam video of the fatal beating of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols who died three days after a traffic stop by police was finally released Friday evening.

The video of the arrest was taken from police body cameras and a surveillance camera mounted to a pole, and was released in four installments to the public.

FILE – Family members and supporters hold a photograph of Tyre Nichols at a news conference in Memphis, Tenn., Jan. 23, 2023. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023 the federal investigation into the death of a Black man who died after a violent arrest by Memphis police “may take some time.” Speaking during a news conference, U.S. Attorney Kevin G. Ritz said his office is working with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in Washington as it investigates the case of Tyre Nichols, who died three days after his Jan. 7 arrest. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, file)

What happened?

The first video revealed the initial traffic stop that led to Nichols’ deadly encounter with law enforcement. The 11-minute video showed officers pulling him over, shouting expletives and threats, and ordering him out of his vehicle.

He shouts, “I didn’t do anything.”

Nichols protested his innocence as the officers forced him to the ground, threatening to break his arms as they instructed him to lie flat. Nichols responds in a neutral tone assuring the officers that he is on the ground.

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

A quick scuffle breaks out before Nichols escapes on foot. The officers attempted to use pepper and a taser to stop him.

One officer wearing the body camera can be heard describing Nichols’ location and said he was a “Young male, Black, slim build, blue jeans, and a hoodie.”

Part two of the video was taken from a SkyCop surveillance camera showing the officers finally catching up with Nichols. Two officers take him down to the ground and fight to restrain him. A third officer kicked him in the head multiple times before being struck with a baton by a fourth officer.

Nichols stands up and stumbles as the officer is holding him until one punches him in the face several times until he eventually collapses.

The third video is about six minutes long and was taken from an officer’s body camera, capturing the encounter from a different angle. The officer wearing the camera threatens to spray Nichols with pepper spray.

Nichols shouts, “Mom!” several times in panic as the officer yells, “Give me your hands!”

The second video clearly showed the officers repeatedly attacking him. It concludes with the officer wearing the body cam, walking away, and breathing heavily from exhaustion.

The final video from another body camera shows the same events as the third video.
Nichols repeatedly cries out in pain as the body camera images become obscured for four minutes. It’s uncertain if the officer covered the video or removed the camera.
You can hear Nichols gagging and retching as he gasps for air.

The body camera footage appears, and Nichols is slumped against an unmarked police car. Paramedics are seen walking up to him to help prop him up. He seemed to be injured with blood on his head. Officers try to pull him up as Nichols slumps on the ground.

According to Nichols’ mother, Rowvaugh Wells, Nichols was two minutes away from his home when he was pulled over. None of the officers ever gave a reason as to why they even pulled Tyre Nichols over in the first place.

Federal investigation ongoing

The FBI and the Department of Justice are still investigating the incident. Five former Memphis police officers were fired and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two charges of aggravated kidnapping, two charges of official misconduct, and one charge of official oppression, according to Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy.

On Jan. 27, all five former officers were out on bond.

Officials nationwide braced themselves for potential civil unrest. The Nichols family has called for peaceful protest while people exercise their rights to justice and demand police reform.

Many took to social media to express their pain and grievances over the incident that drew comparison to the Rodney King and the 1991 LAPD beating, an altercation that happened long before body cameras and cell phone videos became common.

Who was Tyre Nichols?

The Nichols family described Tyre as a “beautiful soul” with a passion for skateboarding, sunsets, and photography.

He worked for FedEx for about nine months, alongside his stepfather Rodney Wells trying to do better for himself and his four-year-old son.

They said he was tall, around 6’3, weighed 150 lbs, and thin because of a battle with Crohn’s disease.

Nichols was the youngest of four children.

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Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...