Our coverage on the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols has moved here.
January 27, 2023 news on the death of Tyre Nichols
By Elise Hammond, Tori B. Powell, Matt Meyer, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Leinz Vales, CNN
Officials released violent video of Tyre Nichols arrest. Here's what we know.
From CNN's Holmes Lybrand
Editor's note: This post contains graphic descriptions of violence.
City officials on Friday evening released more than an hour of footage showing the deadly confrontation between Tyre Nichols and Memphis police officers earlier this month. The released materials included three body camera videos and one overhead surveillance video.
The five officers involved in the arrest were fired after an internal investigation and are facing criminal charges, including second-degree murder. Following the release of the video Friday night, two deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office have been put on leave pending an investigation, Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. said in a statement.
According to the footage, the incident starts to unfolds from 8:24 p.m. CT, when officers initially stopped Nichols, to 9:02 p.m. CT, when an ambulance finally appears on camera to take Nichols to the hospital.
All times are approximate, but here's a look at the timeline in the video:
- 8:24 p.m.: The body camera worn by an officer shows the first contact police have with Nichols on Jan. 7. Multiple officers can be seen approaching Nichols’ vehicle, drawing their firearms and yelling for Nichols to get out of the vehicle. “You’re gonna get your head blown the fuck up,” one officer yells. Nichols is pulled from the car and forced to the ground amid aggressive shouting and threats of being tasered. "I'm just trying to go home,” Nichols says. “I'm not doing anything."
- 8:25 p.m.: One officer sprays Nichols in the face with pepper spray. Nichols then struggles to his feet and begins running from the officer as one another shoots a taser at him that apparently didn’t make contact. Seven minutes later, another group of police officers announce over the radio that they see Nichols and begin to pursue him on foot.
- 8:32p.m.: From body-worn camera footage, two officers can be seen on top of Nichols. Nichols is trying to speak but one of the officers tells him to “shut the fuck up.” Officers continue to hit and spray Nichols, struggling with him on the ground and telling him to give them his hands. Nichols keeps yelling “mom.”
- 8:34 p.m.: One officer tells the other police officers to “watch out,” then pulls out a collapsible police baton and yells at Nichols, “I’m going to baton the fuck out of you. Give me your fucking hands.” A police surveillance camera mounted high up on a pole captured the officer hitting Nichols multiple times with the baton. Nichols struggled back to his feet as he was being hit with the baton. Footage shows the officers continue to try to pull Nichols to the ground, punching him in the face repeatedly before Nichols falls back to his knees. Two officers can be seen on top of Nichols as he lays flat on the ground.
- 8:36 p.m.: More officers run onto the scene and two officers kick Nichols. A minute later the officers finally move away from Nichols, who continues to lay on the ground, writhing occasionally, with his hands behind his back.
- 8:38 p.m.: The officers eventually drag Nichols and prop him against a police car, occasionally flashing their flashlights on him as they mill about the area. Two officers fist-bump a minute later. At times, Nichols slumps over on his side on the ground.
- 8:41 p.m.: Two medical personnel with equipment arrive at the scene. In body worn camera footage, one person can be heard saying, “It’s going to be a while for an ambulance.” Footage shows that 21 minutes pass from when paramedics appear to arrive at 8:41 p.m. to when an ambulance finally pulls into view of the camera at 9:02 p.m.
No arrests after protesters shut down I-55 bridge in Memphis
From CNN's Mark Morales
There have been no arrests stemming from the protest that shut down the Interstate 55 bridge in Memphis, according to Memphis Police Department police spokesperson Louis Brownlee.
It’s estimated that there are less than 100 demonstrators, and they seem to be starting to disperse, Brownlee said.
There are no other demonstrations of note in Memphis as of now, Brownlee said.
3 demonstrators arrested in New York City after mostly peaceful protests Friday night
From CNN’s Mark Morales
Three demonstrators were arrested Friday night in Times Square, one of whom was seen jumping on the hood of a police vehicle and breaking the windshield, a spokesperson for the New York Police Department confirmed to CNN.
The person who allegedly broke the vehicles windshield was charged with criminal mischief. There were no further details related to the other two arrests.
Protests in New York City were largely peaceful despite the three arrests and some minor clashes between police and protesters in the city.
Rep. Steve Cohen says Tyre Nichols video is "overwhelming to watch"
From CNN's Mary Kay Mallonee
US Rep. Steve Cohen, who represents parts of Memphis, said the video of the beating of Tyre Nichols “is overwhelming to watch.”
Cohen posted a statement on Twitter Friday night after the video was released publicly saying, “It's clear that Tyre Nichols died because of the brutality and callous disregard, really an appalling lack of humanity, of the Memphis police officers.
He said, “They were not there to serve and protect, or even to apprehend; they were there to punish and dominate.”
Cohen said he was shown the video before it was shared publicly.
“The 'pack' mentality of these officers was about inflicting vengeance with no regard for Tyre as a human being," he said in the statement.
How governors across the country are reacting to Nichols arrest video
From CNN’s Sara Smart
Governors across the country are reacting to video showing the deadly confrontation between Tyre Nichols and Memphis police. Many of them called for justice and accountability for the officers involved and urged peaceful protests.
- Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the incident "inhumane and appalling," saying that “violence has no place in our country, state, and communities." Polis said, “Americans need to be able to trust those who have chosen to protect them and serve their communities."
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said on Twitter he was "horrified by the video footage released earlier today that showed Memphis police officers brutally and inhumanely beating Tyre Nichols. When those sworn to uphold the law violate the rights of those they serve, there must be accountability."
- Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said his family was "deeply saddened" by the newly released footage. He said he is praying for the community and Nichols' family, adding, "As citizens express their grief and reactions to his killing, the state continues to respect the right of peaceful protest."
- Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers called for peace in the next few days as more people speak out against police violence. "There must be a swift, thorough, and transparent investigation to ensure accountability, which is the first step toward justice, toward healing, and toward change," he said on Twitter.
- Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said, "The disturbing and shocking video released this evening displays incomprehensible violence towards another human being and we must condemn these heinous actions." Youngkin asked people to to come together and "treat one another with love and respect."
- Delaware Gov. John Carney said the body camera footage showed that what happened to Nichols was a "obvious and excessive use of force, with the most tragic result." In a statement posted on Twitter, he pledged to "redouble our efforts to improve the relationships between police and the communities they serve" in Delaware.
- Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said it was "difficult not to fight back tears watching this video." He said he is thankful that the Department of Justice is involved in the investigation and called for the officers to be "held to account for their barbarism."
- Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said, "As we grapple with the pain of another Black life lost at the hands of law enforcement, we must recommit to stopping this pattern of violence—both in Minnesota and across the country," in a post on Twitter.
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he sends his "deepest condolences" to Nichols' family, saying he "should be alive today. He said the video shows "abhorrent behavior and these officers must be held accountable for their deadly actions and clear abuse of power."
Medical experts: Tyre Nichols probably died from internal injuries from blunt force trauma
From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips
Nichols probably died from internal injuries sustained from blunt force trauma, medical experts told CNN after watching the newly released videos of his traffic stop arrestFriday.
They said the body camera footage includes moments where the assault could have damaged a number of organs – including the liver, lungs or brain – and the damage to any of those could have been fatal.
Nichols died three days after the police encounter in the hospital.
Dr. Kendall Von Crowns, chief medical examiner in Tarrant County, Texas, noted that Nichols’ slim figure meant his organs were “millimeters under his skin surface,” without much padding or other protection from a physical assault.
“When these kicks come in, they're hitting on what looks like the right side of his body," he said. "So, you know, your liver is sitting on that side. So he could easily be taking almost direct blows to his liver, which could cause his liver to lacerate or rupture, and that would cause hemorrhage into his abdominal cavity. These could also cause fractures of his ribs on his right side that then could be displaced by subsequent kicks and cause tearing or lacerations of his lungs, which again, cause hemorrhage into his chest cavity.”
Internal hemorrhage could limit the amount of blood and oxygen that’s reaching the brain, he said, which could cause a person to become brain-dead before they die.
Dr. Victor Weedn, a forensic pathologist at George Washington University, said it is not typical for people to die from external blood loss after a beating.
He particularly noted the officers’ use of a baton, which would cause a more “focused” and powerful hit than a fist.
“Head trauma can cause death” from brain swelling and bleeding, Weedn said. “When the brain swells, it causes pressure, and it collapses the veins. When you collapse the veins, then you don't have blood circulation, and you can die."
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta told CNN’s Erin Burnett that “the brain is the one organ in the body that doesn’t really have any room to swell, because it’s encased by the skull."
"As a result, someone may slowly, increasingly lapse into unconsciousness, which seemed to be what was happening with Mr. Nichols,” he said.
Internal hemorrhaging can quickly become deadly.
Paramedics aren’t particularly equipped to help someone with internal injuries like these, Von Crowns said. The focus would have been getting him to the hospital for emergency surgery or transfusion as soon as possible.
“We're talking minutes,” he said. “He really needs to be treated right away.”
The videos show that medical help arrived several minutes later, after Nichols had been propped up beside a car with his hands cuffed behind his back.
“A lot of lost time there, which is so critically important, with somebody who is essentially critically ill, lying on the ground in handcuffs there, with nobody attending to him,” Gupta said.
Sheriff launches investigation and puts 2 deputies on leave after seeing arrest video
From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch and Mark Morales
Two deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office have been put on leave pending an investigation after the sheriff viewed the video in the Tyre Nichols’ case.
In a statement, Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. said, “Having watched the videotape for the first time tonight, I have concerns about two deputies who appeared on scene following the physical confrontation between police and Tyre Nichols."
"I have launched an internal investigation into the conduct of these deputies to determine what occurred and if any policies were violated," Bonner said. "Both of these deputies have been relieved of duty pending the outcome of the administrative investigation.”
Two Memphis fire personnel are also on administrative leave pending an internal investigation into their actions at the scene, CNN has previously reported.
Videos show more than 20 minutes pass before a stretcher arrives for Tyre Nichols
From CNN’s Jon Bonifield and Shawn Nottingham
Editor's note: This post contains graphic descriptions of violence.
Videos released by the Shelby County District Attorney’s office show the medical response to Tyre Nichols in the moments after his beating.
In a body camera video, a first responder briefly appears to render aid to Nichols but then leaves him unattended on the ground.
Nichols appears to attempt to push himself up to a sitting position a few minutes later while first responders stand around not aiding him.
One person can be heard saying, “it’s going to be awhile for an ambulance”.
The pole cam shows that 23 minutes pass from the time Nichols appears to be subdued and on his back on the ground before a stretcher arrives on scene. Two minutes later, an ambulance pulls into frame.