‘We won’t let black officers be treated differently to white officers’: Attorney for family of Tyre Nichols praises ‘quick justice’ after five Memphis cops charged in his death – and says it is the ‘blueprint’ going forward for officer
- Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said the body-cam is the worst she’s seen
- Lawyers for Tyre Nichols have branded the kidnapping charge as ‘terrorism’
- It comes as footage of the brutal assault is set to be released at 7pm EST
The family of Tyre Nichols is calling for the swift arrest of five officers involved in his death to be the ‘new blueprint’ for how cops respond to police brutality in the future.
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump praised Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis for her ‘quick justice’ in firing the officers who violently beat the 29-year-old after a traffic stop on January 10.
He said that the arrest of Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith should be the ‘blueprint’ going forward in America when a police officer commits a crime.
All five were charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct, and official oppression.
Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump praised Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis for her ‘quick justice’ in firing the five officers
Tyre Nichols is pictured in hospital after the incident. The 29-year-old from Memphis died on January 10 from cardiac arrest and kidney failure, three days after he was pulled over for reckless driving by police in unmarked cars
Crump spoke at a press conference on Friday, ahead of the graphic body cam footage of Tyre being beaten to death by the officers being released by authorities at 7pm EST.
He said: ‘We applaud the DA for bringing these charges. Let me be exceedingly clear on this point.
‘When we look at how these five black officers who were caught on camera committing a crime, and when we look at how fast the police chief and the department terminated them, and how swiftly the DA brought charges against them – in less than 20 days – we want to proclaim this as the blueprint going forward.
‘Any time any officers, whether black or white, are held accountable, you can no longer tell us that we have to wait six months to a year when we have a video of excessive force.
‘No more can you tell us that. With these five black officers, you are moving swiftly, and as the chief said, it was important for the community that they took swift action.
‘When it is a white officer, it is also important that there is swift action. We won’t let black officers be treated differently than white officers.
Crump spoke at a press conference on Friday, ahead of the graphic body cam footage of Tyre being beaten to death by the officers being released by authorities at 7pm EST
He said that the arrest of Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith should be the ‘blueprint’ going forward in America when a police officer commits a crime
Five former Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes in the arrest and death of Tyre Nichols
TIMELINE OF EVENTS IN NICHOLS’ DEATH
January 7: Police pull over Tyre Nichols on suspicion of reckless driving at 8.30pm. Tyre fled on foot after a ‘confrontation’ but was apprehended by cops soon after.
An ambulance was called to the scene after Tyre complained of shortness of breath, and was transferred to hospital in a critical condition.
January 10: Three days after the stop Tyre, 29, died from his injuries sustained in the incident. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that they were looking into his death.
January 15: Five officers are relieved of duty while the investigation into their use of force continues. Preliminary findings indicate the serious nature of the offences. All of the officers were given a notice regarding the impeding administrative actions.
January 18: The Department of Justice announces that a civil rights investigation has been opened into the death of Tyre.
January 20: Memphis Police Department identifies, and fires five offices involved in the traffic stop, due to their violation of multiple department polices.
Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr, and Justin Smith’s jobs were terminated for failing in their ‘excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid’.
Two Memphis Fire Department employees who were part of Nichols’ ‘initial patient care’ were also fired.
January 23: The family of Tyre Nichols and their attorney, Ben Crump, view the footage of his arrest for the first time. Crump compares it to the assault of Rodney King by LAPD officers in 1991.
January 26: All five officers are charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two charges of aggravated kidnapping, two charges of official misconduct and one charge of official oppression.
January 27: Four of the former officers each paid bond of $250,000 each to be released after their arrest.
‘We have the blueprint now America, and we won’t accept anything less in the future – there will be equal justice under the law.
‘We now have a precedent that has been set here in Memphis, and we intend to hold this blueprint for all of America on this day forth.’
Shelby County District attorney Steve Mutlroy said Tyre was left ‘bloody and bruised’ after he was pepper sprayed and beaten just yards from his home.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation conducted an independent investigation into the use of force by Memphis police.
All five were fired last Friday for violation of police, with City officials saying they were notified on January 15.
Davis said the cops were ‘amped up’ when they stopped Tyre, with two of the officers from a special team designed to stop street crime.
During the conference at Mount Olive Baptist Church, Crump called for the creation of a ‘Tyre law’.
He hopes it could ’emphasize the importance of police officers … to have a duty to intervene when they see crimes being committed — even if those crimes are being committed by their fellow officers.’
Crump added: ‘That will be the appropriate legacy that we give Tyre Nichols; if we really think we want justice for justice, it’s not justice for one family, it’s justice for all of us.’
Another lawyer for the family branded the definition of the kidnapping charges as ‘terrorism’.
Aggravated kidnapping is when the crime is committed to facilitate any other felony, it interferes with governmental function, it is intended to seriously injure or terrorize the victim, inflict bodily injury on the victim or possess or threaten to use a deadly weapon.
Antonio Romanucci also called for police unions to wade in on the arrests of the officers, adding: ‘When you think of 9/11, what’s the word that comes to mind? Terrorism.
‘When you think of other heinous acts that have happened in churches across this country, any act of terrorism, what does that instill in you?
‘That, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition that we are dealing with here on this kidnapping charge. It is terrorism. It was designed to terrorize the victim.’
He also demanded the disbanding of he ‘SCORPION’ unit in Memphis, which is meant to clamp down on street crimes.
Romanucci added that they have been ‘corrupted’ and is calling for reviews on all of the units across the country.
Memphis Police confirmed that they planned to release the video late on Friday to avoid any ‘peaceful protest’ causing disruptions to members of the community.
David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, described the video as ‘absolutely appalling.’
He said: ‘Let me be clear: What happened here does not at all reflect proper policing. This was wrong, and this was criminal.’
Tyre Nichols, 29, died in hospital on January 10, three days after a traffic stop that ended with him being severely injured
TOP L-R: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III. BOTTOM L-R: Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith
In addition to the five officers charged Thursday, Davis said in the statement that other officers also are under investigation.
Two Memphis Fire Department personnel also have been relieved of duty pending an investigation.
President Biden has also called for calm ahead of the release of the video – adding: ‘Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable.’
He said: ‘As Americans grieve, the Department of Justice conducts its investigation, and state authorities continue their work, I join Tyre’s family in calling for peaceful protest.
‘Violence is destructive and against the law. It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice.’
President Biden urged for calm before the video release, saying: ‘Violence is destructive and against the law. It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice’
Dozens of people peacefully paid tribute to the murdered Fed-Ex worker, with police gearing up to deal with potential violence after footage of the incident is released
‘Tyre’s death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all.
‘We also cannot ignore the fact that fatal encounters with law enforcement have disparately impacted Black and Brown people.’
Schools in Memphis are canceling all after-school activities on Friday in the ‘interest of public safety’ with a showcase being postponed for a week because of the footage release.
It comes as major US cities are bracing for possible violence after the release of the footage, with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp activating the National Guard in a state of emergency in Atlanta.
He has called in 1,000 troops to combat anticipated unrest and chaos which is expected to be even more extreme than last week’s riots.
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