Memphis: “Appalling” video of police beating Tyre Nichols to be released today.
Citizen raised concerns about abuse by MPD officers in SCORPION unit days before Nichols stop.
New Israeli air strikes on Gaza.
Memphis: “Absolutely appalling” video of police beating Tyre Nichols to be released today
Yesterday afternoon, the five former Memphis PD officers involved in Tyre Nichols’ traffic stop were formally charged in connection with his death. Each of them has been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, official misconduct and official oppression. Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith all surrendered themselves to authorities shortly before the charges were announced.
Memphis officials are planning to release the video of the deadly encounter today. Local officials, members of Nichols’ family and their attorneys have already seen it. By all accounts, it depicts an especially egregious example of police brutality. In the video, officers are seen restraining, beating, Tasing and pepper spraying Nichols while he asks what he did and calls for his mother. Nichols died in hospital three days after the Jan. 7 stop.
During yesterday’s press conference, David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, told reporters, “Simply put, this should not have happened”. Despite his 30 years in law enforcement, Rausch was “shocked” and “sickened” by the video and what TBI’s investigation revealed. He called the video “absolutely appalling” and said the encounter “does not at all reflect proper policing. This was wrong; this was criminal”.
MPD Chief CJ Davis had equally strong words about the video, saying it was “perhaps worse” than the video of Los Angeles police beating Rodney King more than 30 years ago. The Rodney King video sparked weeks of riots in LA.
Officials are worried that the release of the video today could spark similar unrest in Memphis. Nichols’ parents Rowvaughn and Rodney Wells are calling on the community to protest peacefully.
Citizen raised concerns about SCORPION unit days before Nichols traffic stop
All five of the MPD officers involved in Nichols’ death were members of a special enforcement unit created in 2021. The 50-person SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods) unit was created to increase police presence and visibility in high-crime areas. The day Nichols was stopped by police, a police radio transmission called other SCORPION units to respond to the scene.
Four days before Nichols was pulled over, Cornell McKinney was accosted by SCORPION unit officers at a Marathon gas station on Ridgeway and Knight Arnold Rd. The officers approached McKinney and a friend he was riding with. McKinney says the officers yelled at them, “Freeze, get out the car! Put your m—f—ing hands up before I blow your heads off!”
McKinney then says one of he officers physically pulled him out of the car. The officers then asked McKinney “who the drugs belonged to”. Perplexed, McKinney told the officers he was just trying to get a pizza. Eventually, the officers told him they were “just playing” and drove off. McKinney then called MPD Internal Affairs twice to report the officers but never heard back.
When photos of the five officers involved in Tyre Nichols’ case were released after they were fired, McKinney said he recognized them as the officers who had harassed him. McKinney lamented that Nichols’ death might have been prevented if MPD had acted on his complaint.
Click here for Cornell McKinney’s story (3-minute video ~ opens in new tab).
Click here to read the story from WREG.com (opens in new tab).
New Israeli air strikes in Gaza
For over a year, the Israeli military has been conducting deadly raids in majority-Arab cities in the occupied West Bank. This followed a series of attacks on Jewish Israeli citizens by Islamic militants with connections to ISIS. It was in one of these raids that Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed last year by an Israeli sniper. Abu Akleh was covering the raids for Al-Jazeera and wearing a helmet and vest that identified her as PRESS when an “apparently well-aimed” Israel bullet killed her.
In recent weeks, the military raids in the West Bank have intensified. Last week, Israeli forces gunned down a 57-year-old Palestinian teacher who was giving first aid to a wounded militant. Earlier this week, another raid in the West Bank town of Jenin killed nine Palestinians, among them a 61-year-old woman. These deaths sparked outrage and protests, during which another man was shot and killed.
Yesterday, militants in Gaza fired six rockets into Israel, which were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system and caused no injuries. Today, Israel retaliated by firing rockets of its own into Gaza, a densely populated area.
Click here for the full story (opens in new tab).
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