Memphis is preparing for the unbearable. Five ex-police officers were charged on Thursday for the murder of Tire Nichols, a young African-American who was beaten during his arrest in early January and died in hospital three days later. The video, which family attorneys have likened to the lynching of Rodney King, is due to be released Friday evening.
Joe Biden said he joined Tire Nichols’ family in “calling for peaceful protests”, recalling that “anger is understandable but violence is never acceptable”. He said the Justice Department was investigating alongside authorities in Tennessee.
“Failure of humanity”
Rare fact in this new drama, the five police officers are all black, like the victim. Police Chief CJ Davis, who announced their dismissal, described their actions as “a fundamental failure in humanity”. In Tennessee, charges of second degree murder (without premeditation) are punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison.
Tire Nichols, 29, was arrested driving for reckless driving on January 7, less than 100 yards from his home. According to the police, he tried to run away, and an altercation ensued. Lawyers for the family say he was “beaten like a human pinata” for three minutes. He died in hospital on January 10. According to the report of an independent autopsy requested by the family, he died following a “severe haemorrhage caused by violent blows”.