US

Release of more footage of Tyre Nichols’s arrest delayed as Memphis Police face investigation

The US government has launched an investigation into the Memphis Police Department following the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, as additional footage which was due to be released was delayed.

The US Justice Department announced it will review the police department’s policies on the use of force and de-escalation in the wake of the 29-year-old’s death in January.

It comes as Memphis city officials were due to release around 20 hours of additional video and audio related to the arrest of Mr Nichols.

However, a judge granted a delay until prosecutors and attorneys for five former officers charged in the case can review the material.

The father-of-one died three days after several officers punched, kicked and hit him with a baton in Tennessee, after he was pulled over during a traffic stop on 7 January.

The fatal beating sparked outrage over police violence in the US.

Judge James Jones of the Criminal Court of Tennessee issued the ruling on Wednesday, in response to a motion filed by an attorney for one of the officers seeking the delay.

Previous bodycam and CCTV footage released by Memphis Police, showed officers beating Mr Nichols for three minutes as he was heard screaming “mom, mom” several times.

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‘I didn’t do anything’, pleads Tyre Nichols

However, the four shorter videos previously released did not reveal what led to the traffic stop or shed light on what paramedics who responded to the incident were told by officers at the scene.

Five officers, who are all black, have been charged with second-degree murder, assault, kidnapping, official misconduct and oppression.

Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr, Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith all pleaded not guilty to the charges in February.

The review by the Justice Department was requested by the city’s mayor and police chief. Once completed, a public report will outline the findings with recommendations.

In a separate effort, the department will examine the use of specialised units around the country and produce a guide for police chiefs and mayors on their use.

The department has previously opened a civil rights investigation into Mr Nichols’ death.

Read more:
How the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols unfolded
Three emergency workers fired over response to Tyre Nichols death

Police said Mr Nichols was suspected of reckless driving when he was arrested but no verified evidence of a traffic violation has emerged in public documents or in video footage.

Memphis Police director Cerelyn Davis initially defended the anti-crime task force Scorpion unit after Mr Nichols’ death, but later disbanded it and said she has seen no evidence justifying the stop or the officers’ response.

A total of 13 officers have come under investigation for their conduct. Seven were fired, three were suspended, two had charges dismissed, and one resigned in lieu of termination.

Three members of the Memphis Fire Department were also fired and one was suspended.

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