Memphis police officers charged with senselessly beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols during a traffic stop pepper-sprayed each other during his arrest, disturbing footage of the incident shows.
Police stopped Nichols for alleged reckless driving at an intersection on Jan. 7 with their guns drawn and demanded he get out of the car, body cam video of the incident shows. They yelled expletive-laced commands at the confused motorist and tried to handcuff him after they forced him to the ground.
In the first of two altercations, Nichols frees himself as officers deploy pepper spray and tasers, but he takes off down the street where police would later locate him and deliver another beating.
“I can’t see jack sh–t,” says one officer in footage from his body camera after unsuccessfully pursuing Nichols. He and his partner are both out of breath and coughing from the pepper spray as they go back to the intersection. One officer said that he lost his glasses.
The cop takes a water bottle and flushes out both of his partner’s eyes multiple times.
“Why [did] I spray myself?” his partner asks.
“Hey, you sprayed me too, but just got me in the eyebrow,” he responds with a chuckle.
“I hope they stomp his ass,” he adds about Nichols.
When police finally caught up with Nichols, he was pepper sprayed again and brutally punched, kicked and hit with a baton. After Nichols was cuffed, one officer tells several others “we’re all sprayed.”
Nichols, a young father and FedEx employee, died three days later in the hospital. His official cause of death has not been released.
Five black officers — identified as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith — were charged with Nichols’ murder and surrendered to law enforcement on Thursday. They are charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression in addition to second-degree murder.
All five were sprung from the Shelby County Jail Friday morning after each posted between a $250,000 and $350,000 bail.
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