A Tennessee sheriff said his office will conduct an internal investigation into two police officers involved in the brutal beating of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols during a traffic stop after video of the fatal encounter was released.
Nichols was pulled over by police in Memphis on the night of January 7, 2023, appeared to resist being arrested and was subsequently pummeled by officers, sending him to the hospital where he would later die from his injuries.
The five Memphis police officers who were involved have been fired and face charges including murder while another two Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies who appeared on the scene after the incident have been relieved of duty pending the results of the investigation.
Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner, Jr. said that he decided to launch the investigation after watching the video which was released on Friday, sending angry mobs into the streets across the nation.
“Having watched the videotape for the first time tonight, I have concerns about two deputies who appeared on the scene following the physical confrontation between police and Tyre Nichols,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I have launched an internal investigation into the conduct of these deputies to determine what occurred and if any policies were violated. Both of these deputies have been relieved of duty pending the outcome of this administrative investigation,” Bonner added.
— ShelbyTNSheriff (@ShelbyTNSheriff) January 28, 2023
In a separate statement posted to the Sheriff’s Department Facebook page, Bonner expressed his “heartfelt condolences” to Nichols’ family and friends and said that he was “sad and angry about his tragic death.”
“I am a second-generation law enforcement officer, and I am troubled by what we all saw captured on video. This horrible incident tarnished the badge that I wear, and many other good officers wear every day,” Bonner said. “I will do everything in my power to prevent another parent from having to bury their child in such a senseless and tragic way.”
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland told the Commercial Appeal, “My first emotion was sadness — sadness for Tyre — watching him go through what he was going through. And then some disbelief. It’s just beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Then it turned into anger that a fellow human being was treated that way.”
The graphic footage which was taken from body cameras and a nearby pole camera shows that Nichols tried to escape from officers, was then chased down, tazed, cursed at, pepper sprayed, punched and kicked by the five officers who left him dazed and bleeding in the street.
(Video: YouTube/Fox News)
The five cops involved have been identified as Desmond Mills, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin, Tadarrius Bean and Demetrius Haley, all have been released on bond and are no longer behind bars.
Memphis was the scene of mostly peaceful demonstrations as people took to the streets to protest what was an act of black-on-black violence, blocking roads and highways in demonstrations that were mimicked by opportunistic activists in multiple cities as America is once again on the precipice of mass violence like that which erupted after drug addict and career criminal George Floyd’s fateful encounter with police in Minneapolis in the summer of 2020.
(Video: YouTube/LiveNow from Fox)
If convicted, the five officers involved in the beating could face up to 60 years in prison.
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