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Tear Nichols is ‘human piñata’ for cops, lawyer says after watching bodycam footage

Tear Nichols is ‘human piñata’ for cops, lawyer says after watching bodycam footage

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The video of Tear Nichols’ interaction with five Memphis police officers is “horrific,” “deplorable,” “disgusting,” “violent” and “disturbing on every level,” Ben Crump, an attorney for the Nichols family, said during a press conference in Monday after watching the bodycam video.

Nichols’ family, along with attorneys Crump and Antonio Romanucci, reviewed the body camera footage Monday morning, assisted by the Memphis Police Department and Memphis City Hall.

The video of the arrest has not been released publicly.

“What he was like in that he was defenseless the entire time,” Romanucci said. “He was a human piñata for these officers. It was an unadulterated, shameless, non-stop beating of this young boy for three minutes.” Romanucci also mentioned that Nichols, who died on January 10, was kicked during the footage.

According to Nichols’ mother, Rowvonne Wells, he was 2 minutes from his home when he was pulled over and less than 80 yards from the house when he was taken into custody by officers.

Rowvon told ABC News’ Steve Osunsamy that he couldn’t watch the entire video.

“Once the video started and I heard my son’s voice, I lost it. I couldn’t stay in the room. All I heard him say was what did I do? And after I heard it, I lost it,” she said.

Crump and Romanucci said the footage showed Nichols did not initially run away when approached by officers and told them he was “just trying to get home” from FedEx, where he worked, and called his mother three times towards the end of the video.

“Our son ran away because he was afraid for his life,” said Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather. “He didn’t run because he was trying to get rid of drugs or a gun or any of that. He fled because he feared for his life. And when you see the video, you will see why he feared for his life. life.”

The family said they saw police kicking, pepper spray and using a stun gun on their son as Nichols repeatedly asked, “What did I do?”

“They handcuffed him and put him down, propped him up against the car. And when he was falling, they would tell him, ‘sit back,'” Rodney told ABC News. “You know, and he was going back down again and they were making him sit back down. They never gave any help.”

Rowvon Wells spoke through tears at the press conference, recalling what a good boy her son was and demanding justice in his death.

“We will get justice for my son Tyr if this is my last breath,” she said.

Nichols died on January 10, three days after he was pulled over by police for allegedly reckless driving. He was hospitalized in critical condition after complaining of shortness of breath during the arrest.

The Memphis man had Crohn’s disease and suffered severe weight loss, according to his family. Nicole’s appearance at the hospital was emotional for his parents.

“When I walked into that hospital room, my son was already dead,” Rowvon Wells said.

The Memphis Police Department announced Friday that it had fired the five officers, all black, involved in the incident, concluding the department’s internal investigation.

The officers were identified as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith.

Police officers who were fired after their involvement in a traffic stop that ended in the death of Tear Nichols, in a combination of undated photos in Memphis, Tennessee. From left: Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith and Tadarrius Bean.

Memphis Police Department via Reuters

Officers were in patrol cars during the stop, although some of the vehicles were unmarked, according to the family’s attorneys.

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told ABC News they are considering possible criminal charges against the former officers. The family said they hope to be charged with murder.

The video is expected to be released this week or next week, according to an official statement from the Shelby County District Attorney’s office released Monday.

“Transparency is a priority for the prosecution and we understand the public’s desire for an immediate release.” However, it is important that the release does not compromise the investigation,” the statement said.

The FBI and the Department of Justice are continuing their coordination inquest into the death of Tyr Nichols along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.

Crump and Romanucci announced they would conduct their own civil investigation.

Nichols’ death sparked an outcry in the Memphis community, with citizens calling for the body camera footage to be released publicly.

“Whatever it takes to clear my son’s name and get justice for my son,” Rodney Wells told ABC News. “If they have to keep the video for two more weeks, let them keep it for another two weeks.”

The former officers and the police union did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.


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