The newly released videos of Tyre Nichols’ police beating captured the brutality that his family and authorities had already foreshadowed: He was punched and kicked while being restrained. He pleaded to go home and repeatedly yelled for his mom.
And after the beating, while Nichols lay slumped and motionless against a car, officers walking around on scene ignored the 29-year-old.
The videos consist of three shorter body camera clips and one roughly 31-minute video taken from a utility pole camera, which appears to capture most of the violence that unfolded just steps from Nichols’ home in Memphis.
The videos show portions of both the initial traffic stop on the night of January 7 and a second altercation just minutes later, after Nichols fled the first location on foot. Nichols required hospitalization after the encounter and died on January 10.
“What you’re seeing is a fairly significant number of officers who are failing at arrest and control tactics and making up for it with brutality,” said CNN Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst John Miller.
Law enforcement analysts who viewed the clips were troubled by a range of actions – and inactions – during the encounter, from the beating by a group of officers to the length of time it took for someone to render aid to a motionless Nichols.
The videos leave many questions unanswered, including the reason for the stop, which the officers do not explain in the clips. Memphis police initially said Nichols was pulled over for suspected reckless driving, but police chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis told CNN on Friday authorities have not been able to “substantiate that” claim.
The clips also do not answer why authorities used such force on Nichols, who did not appear to fight back, and why they felt compelled to confront him twice.
But the videos do shed light on just how violent the fatal confrontation was. Here are some key takeaways:
Officers repeatedly threatened Nichols with violence
Videos from the encounters capture multiple officers threatening Nichols with violence while he appears to comply with their commands or is already on the ground.
A body camera video that captures the initial encounter between Nichols and police shows the officer getting out of his car with his gun drawn and captures an officer yelling for Nichols to “Get the fuck out of the car.”
Nichols is heard saying, “I didn’t do anything,” and later, as he gets on the ground, “All right, I’m on the ground.”
An officer yells at him, “Bitch, put your hands behind your back before I… I’m going to knock your ass the fuck out.”
Nichols says, “I’m just trying to go home.”
While officers yell commands, Nichols repeatedly responds that he is on the ground and is heard saying he didn’t do anything, before running away as an officer deploys his Taser.
At the second encounter, where the beating occurs, a body camera captures an officer yelling at Nichols, “I’m going to baton the fuck out of you,” while Nichols is on the ground and not fighting back. An officer is also heard asking “Do you want to be sprayed again,” while Nichols is on the ground and yelling for his mom.