“While Americans mourn, the Department of Justice investigates, and authorities continue their work, I join the Taira family in calling for a peaceful protest. The anger is understandable, but the violence is unacceptable,” Joe Biden said in a statement, also calling for an “immediate, full and transparent investigation” into the circumstances of his death, AFP reported.
Authorities said five police officers were charged and detained. These police officers from Memphis, a large city in Tennessee, all of whom are African-American, are involved in various criminal cases, including murder, assault and kidnapping, state attorney Steve Mulroy said at a press conference.
Let’s remember that on January 7, the police, who had already finished their shift, wanted to arrest Tire Nichols, a 29-year-old African-American, for breaking traffic laws. As police approached his car, “a skirmish broke out” and “the suspect fled,” police said. As a result, detainee Tire Nichols was arrested, but complained of difficulty breathing and was hospitalized. He died three days later.
The details of this arrest are still unclear: there is a video of the persecution and detention, but so far it has only been shown to the relatives of the deceased and their lawyers. According to them, “the police beat the guy beyond recognition.” “This is a clean beating of this young man without interruption for three minutes,” attorney Antonio Romanucci said.
The day before, during a press conference, the authorities evaded a precise description of the course of events, referring to the secrecy of the investigation. But what happened was “unacceptable,” “criminal” and “shouldn’t have happened,” said David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, adding that he was “shocked” and “outraged” by what he saw. . “In a word, it’s absolutely terrible,” Rausch concluded.
Lawyers for the victim’s family, including the famed Ben Crump, who represented the family of George Floyd, an African-American murdered nearly three years ago, applauded the accusation by the former police officers. “This news gives us hope as we continue to demand justice for the Taira,” they explained. On Thursday, referring to his meetings with people close to Tire Nichols, prosecutor Steve Mulroy painted a portrait of a “nearly perfect son.” “A fun, happy person who loved to skateboard,” he said.
The five accused officers were fired from the police force last week. An internal police investigation concluded that they had used excessive force. Other officers are still under investigation. The video of the arrest will be made public on Friday after 18:00 local time (2:00 am Moscow time on Saturday).
This high-profile case resonates particularly in the United States, which still remembers the death of George Floyd in May 2020 and the subsequent national demonstrations by members of the Black Lives Matter movement against racism and police violence. And this drama has revived the debate on police violence in the country. Attorney Steve Mulroy hopes the case “will allow for a broader debate about the need for police reform.”
NAACP President Derrick Johnson urged members of Congress to watch video of the arrest and then act. “We can name all the victims of police brutality, but we can’t name a single law that you passed to solve the problem,” he concluded.