Nichols, 29, was pulled over by officers on suspicion of reckless driving on January 7, police initially said. Officers approached his vehicle and a confrontation occurred, which led to Nichols fleeing on foot. Officers chased him, detained him, and took him into custody. Nichols complained of shortness of breath after the incident and was taken to the hospital where he died three days later, on January 10.
The Memphis Police Department terminated five police officers in connection with the death of Tyre Nichols: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith.
The Memphis Police Department said on Thursday that it will release the body cam footage from the incident that led to the death of Nichols.
Police Chief Cerelyn Davis told the public on Wednesday night that the clip will be released "in the coming days," and said that her department will provide with the investigation surrounding the event that lead to Nichols' death. She called the death "heinous, reckless, and inhumane." Nichols was beaten by several officers to death, his attorneys say.
Davis also noted that she expects protests to take place but asked that they remain peaceful. "This is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual," Davis said, adding that the officers involved in Nichols' death "failed our community, and they failed the Nichols family. That is beyond regrettable."
"In the vein of transparency, when the video is released in the coming days, you will see this for yourselves," she added, according to Fox News. "I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels. I expect you to feel outraged by the disregard for basic human rights as our police officers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video.
"I expect our citizens to exercise their First Amendment right to protest, to demand action and results. But we need to ensure our community is safe in this process," she continued.
"None of this is a calling card for inciting violence or destruction on our community or against our citizens," Davis said.
Davis added: "To show those who watch us now that this behavior is not what will define our community and this great city. This is not a reflection of the good work that many Memphis police officers do every day. What comes next is our defining moment. What we all do next can be that reflection of our character."
"I am not wavering in my commitment to you to have a police force that is here to serve and protect you," she also said. "I have met with and offered condolences to Tyre’s mother and father and have asked for the support of our community leaders and our clergy in this extremely difficult moment."
"It is my intent as a proactive measure that a complete and independent review on all of the Memphis Police Department’s specialized units and to ensure policies, and procedures are adhered to in the daily encounters with the citizens we are sworn to serve," she concluded.
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