United States: what we know about the death of Tire Nichols after his brutal arrest

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Tension is rising in the United States. Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old African American, died in early January, three days after his brutal arrest for a traffic violation. If the police evoke a “confrontation”, the relatives of the victim assure that she was beaten up. Fearing that the country will catch fire, Joe Biden called for calm.

What happened ?

The facts date back to January 7. That day, police officers from Memphis (Tennessee) want to intercept Tire Nichols, a 29-year-old African American, for a traffic violation. According to their version, as the officers approached, a “confrontation took place” and “the suspect fled”. Caught up, Tire Nichols was finally arrested. He then complained of having difficulty breathing and was hospitalized. He died three days later.

The details of this arrest are not yet clear: a video of the facts exists, but has so far only been shown to the relatives of the victim and their lawyers. According to them, “the police beat (the young man) to the point that he was unrecognizable”. “It is a pure and simple beating, without interruption, of this young man for three minutes”, declared Me Antonio Romanucci.

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During a press conference on Thursday, the authorities avoided precisely describing the course of events, referring to images. The video of the arrest will be made public this Friday after 6 p.m. local time (one a.m. Saturday). “I expect you will be outraged” seeing these images, admitted Cerelyn Davis, the Memphis police chief.

What are the authorities saying?

At a press conference, David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said what happened was “unacceptable” and “criminal” and “should not have happened”. He said he was “shocked” and “disgusted” by what he saw. “In a word, it’s absolutely appalling. »

The officers involved are “directly responsible for the physical violence committed on Mr. Nichols”, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said on Wednesday, saying it was “not just a mistake. professional, but a lack of humanity”.

Who was Tire Nichols?

Tire Nichols was a 29-year-old African-American. Prosecutor Steve Mulroy, who met the relatives of the young man, painted the portrait of an “almost perfect son”. “A jovial and happy person, who loved skateboarding,” he said.

Facebook/Deandre Nichols/via REUTERS.
Facebook/Deandre Nichols/via REUTERS.

What happened to the police?

Five members of the police were charged and imprisoned on Thursday. These police officers from Memphis, a large city in Tennessee, all African-Americans, are the subject of several charges, including murder, assault and kidnapping, announced the prosecutor, Steve Mulroy, during a conference Press.

All five were fired last week. The internal police investigation concluded that they had used excessive force. Other officers are still under investigation.

Lawyers for the victim’s family, including the famous Ben Crump – who had represented the family of George Floyd – welcomed the indictment of the police. This new

Joe Biden reacted

The American president spoke in a press release, calling for a “rapid, complete and transparent investigation” into this tragedy. He notably assured to join the family of Tire Nichols in calling for the demonstrations to be “peaceful”. “Anger is understandable, but violence is never acceptable,” added Joe Biden.

The drama has reignited the debate over police violence in the country. “We cannot ignore the fact that deadly police interventions have affected black people more,” President Biden said. The Democratic president is urging Congress to pass a police reform bill, passed in the House of Representatives in 2021 but which did not pass the Senate hurdle.

The president of the civil rights organization NAACP, Derrick Johnson, for his part called on elected members of Congress to watch the video of the arrest and then to act. “We can name all the victims of police brutality, but we can’t name a single law you passed to address the problem. »

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