Officials in Memphis on Friday released police video from the violent arrest of, a 29-year-old Black man whose death earlier this month has led to second-degree against five officers, who were fired over the incident. Nichols died three days after what his family and authorities described as a brutal encounter that stemmed from a traffic stop.
The four videos — posted on the city of Memphis' Vimeo account shortly before 7 p.m. EST — were taken from police body cameras and street surveillance cameras. They show officers first removing Nichols from his vehicle after pulling him over, an initial struggle when Nichols breaks loose and runs away from the officers, and then disturbing images of Nichols being restrained and beaten by five officers in an intersection.
The videos show him being kicked in the head multiple times while being restrained, Tased, pepper sprayed, and struck multiple times with a baton.
The first body camera video shows a police officer approaching a car with his gun drawn while Nichols is being forcibly pulled out and pushed to the ground by another officer. An officer threatens to break his hands if he doesn't put them down.
"Alright, I'm on the ground," Nichols says. "You guys are doing a lot, I'm just trying to go home."
The officers continue to push Nichols on the ground, when the officer wearing the body camera pulls out his Taser gun and points it at Nichols's leg. Soon after, another officer pepper sprays him, and that is when he seems to break loose and run down a street.
A second video, taken from an elevated street surveillance camera, shows officers restraining and beating Nichols in a suburban intersection.
The video, which has no sound, shows two officers holding Nichols on the ground, when a third officer approaches and kicks Nichols in the face twice. A fourth officer deploys a retractable baton and begins beating Nichols, hitting him in the back. Nichols stands up and stumbles while being held by two officers, when another one punches him in the face several times until the blows make Nichols collapse.
The third video shows bodycam footage and audio of the beating, after officers detain Nichols at the intersection. While he is being restrained on the ground, the officer wearing the camera pepper sprays Nichols repeatedly.
"Mom, mom, mom!" Nichols screams as an officer yells, "give me your hands!"
The officer wearing the bodycam steps away from Nichols, breathing heavily, seemingly affected by the pepper spray. He then approaches the officers restraining Nichols and deploys the retractable baton.
"Watch out," he warns the officers. "I'm going to baton the f*** out of you," he yells at Nichols, hitting him three times, punctuating each blow with, "Give us your hands!" The crack of the baton is audible in the video.
CBS News has learned that investigators are still searching for more potential video evidence from surveillance cameras in an effort to determine – with more certainty – what sparked the confrontation.
Authorities, members of Nichols' family and their attorneys were shown the video before Friday's release.
Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, told "CBS Mornings" on Tuesday that she could not bear to watch it in full. "All I heard my son say was, 'What did I do?' I just lost it from there," she said.
"I've never seen the video, but what I've heard is very horrific, very horrific, and any of you who have children, please don't let them see it," Wells said during a press conference Friday afternoon.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn "CJ" Davis told NBC News on Friday the video was "horrific, alarming, disappointing, sad."
"There were times when he was laying, there were times when he was sat up, there were times when he was mumbling and saying words, but it was obvious he was not in control of his physical self," Davis added.
Family attorney Ben Crumpthey commissioned found Nichols suffered injuries from a severe beating.
The five officers— Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, official misconduct and other offenses. Lawyers for Martin and Mills said their clients will plead not guilty.
Police had said Nichols fled the officers after he was pulled over on suspicion of reckless driving — an allegation that Davis told CNN earlier on Friday investigators haven't been able to substantiate.
President Biden spoke with the mother and stepfather of Tyre Nichols on Friday afternoon, the White House said. During the call with RowVaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, Mr. Biden offered condolences from him and the first lady, and "commended the family's courage and strength," the White House said.
"She's obviously in enormous pain," Mr. Biden said of Nichols' mother. "…I told her I had some idea of what that loss was like, and that although it's impossible to believe now, but a time will come when his memory brings a smile before a tear."
In a statement following the video's release, Mr. Biden acknowledged that he had seen the "horrific" footage, and said that it left him "outraged and deeply pained," adding that the public should be "justifiably outraged."
"Those who seek justice should not to resort to violence or destruction," Mr. Biden's statement read. "Violence is never acceptable; it is illegal and destructive. I join Mr. Nichols' family in calling for peaceful protest."
Ahead of Friday's release, police officials in Memphis and other cities around the country prepared for the possibility of protests.
"When people actually see with their own eyes the kinds of things that occurred in this incident, there's an even greater potential for very serious public reaction," Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroyco-host Gayle King on Friday morning.
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