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The images of the beating of Tire Nichols, the young African American who died on January 7 after being beaten upon arrest by five officers, are “perhaps worse” than those of the beating of Rodney King. To say it is Cerely Davis, the woman who leads the Memphis police, in an interview with Cnn a few hours before the broadcast of the video (it is scheduled for tonight, Italian time). The footage is described as “shocking and inhumane” by the victim’s lawyers and family members who have already seen it.
“You will see actions that defy humanity”, warns the police chief again. “I was already in the police at the time of the Rodney King case – he added speaking of the beating of the African American by the police, whose video sparked a riot in Los Angeles in 1991 – and it is a very similar behavior, if no worse”. Davis underlines how it seems to emerge from the video that the agents’ violence against the 29-year-old – stopped for a road check – is a sort of “group thought”. The five officers, who are also African-American, were fired and were indicted yesterday on various counts, including second-degree murder.
Biden: “Doing more, reforms needed”
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden also intervenes on the case: “Tyre’s death is a painful reminder of the need to do more to ensure that our justice system respects the promises of impartiality, fairness and dignity”. And he calls for “important reforms”. “Public trust is the foundation of public safety and there are still too many places in America where these bonds of trust are broken”, the president said again, indicating how African Americans and Hispanics are victims “disproportionately of police violence. “Today we all have to commit to crucial work that needs to be done to achieve meaningful reforms,” he concluded.
Fears of protests after the video is released
Tennessee city officials fear that the release of the video could lead to protests and unrest. And in his statement Biden “joined Tire’s family in calling for peaceful protests: anger is understandable, but violence is never acceptable, it is destructive and against the law, it has no place in peaceful protests demanding justice”. “What happened” in Memphis “is tragic. I saw the video and it is shocking,” says FBI chief Chris Wray, stressing that everything is ready in case there are out-of-control protests. Wray then declared that the FBI and the Justice Department have launched two investigations. “We will act – he added – following the rules, as I think we are expected”.
of the victim’s mother, called for calmThe family’s appeal: “Protest in peace”
Rodney Wells, Tire Nichols’ stepfather, also calls for “peaceful protests”. “Please demonstrate in peace,” Wells said. “You have dishonored your families, but I will pray for you”, is the message from RowVaughn Wells, the mother of Tire Nichols, to the five agents who killed her son. “He had my name tattooed, he loved me and I loved him,” said the young man’s mother.