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Father dies in US after ‘police beat him like human pinata’

According to a family lawyer, a man died after being beaten for three minutes by police officers.

Tyre Nichols (29), died in hospital after an altercation during a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee on 7 January.

Police said that the father of one was taken into custody after he was stopped for reckless driving.

After a police investigation, five black officers were arrested in connection with the arrest. They were either too forceful or did not intervene to help the suspect.


Police were accused of attacking Mr Nichols, causing him to suffer a heart attack. Authorities have stated that he was suffering from a medical emergency.

Antonio Romanucci, a lawyer representing Mr Nichols’ family said that the beating lasted for three minutes and that he was “a human pinata for these police officers.”

Ben Crump, another lawyer, stated that the incident’s bodycam footage reminded family members and lawyers of Rodney King’s 1991 Los Angeles video in which Rodney King was beaten by officers. A year later, riots erupted in the city.

He stated that the latest footage shows the encounter was violent and troublesome on all levels. He also said it was “appalling”, deplorable, and “heinous”.

Crump stated that the video would be made available to the public, but only for a few days.

According to Steve Mulroy, Shelby County district attorney, investigators are reluctant to reveal it as they don’t want to compromise the investigation.

Image: A photograph of Mr Nichols is shown while he was at the hospital. Pic: AP

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Fear of riots

Leaders from the city and local communities are concerned that the footage could lead to civil unrest once it is released.

Rodney Wells said that Mr Nichols’ stepfather hopes any protests remain peaceful.

Van Turner, the president of the Memphis chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (a civil rights organisation), also stated that the city is tense while it waits for the video.

He thanked the city and police for their quick action in firing the officers (Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Hayley, Emmitt Mart III, Desmond Mills Jr, and Justin Smith).

Image (L–R) Officers Demetrius Hayley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin Jr., Justin Smith, and Tadarrius Bean were fired

“No cause of death established”

According to the police department, Mr Nichols was arrested on July 7, 2012.

According to the report, officers caught up with him again and had “another confrontation” as they took him into custody.

According to police, he complained of shortness-of-breath and was admitted at the hospital.

Officials have not determined the cause of death.


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