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MPD Releases Videos of Tyre Nichols Beating

Police officers, who were seen on camera beating and kicking Tyre Nichols, stand by where Nichols is slumped over on the ground. This image is a screenshot of one of the videos from graphic police body camera footage released to the public on Friday night.
City of Memphis Vimeo/Screenshot by NPR
Police officers, who were seen on camera beating and kicking Tyre Nichols, stand by where Nichols is slumped over on the ground. This image is a screenshot of one of the videos from graphic police body camera footage released to the public on Friday night.

UPDATE 01/30: The description of Video 1 has been updated to include the identity of the officer from whose bodycam the footage was taken. On Jan. 30, his defense attorney identified him, and the Memphis Police Department announced that the officer was placed on leave pending an investigation.

The City of Memphis released four videos on Friday, Jan. 27, at exactly 6 p.m. that public officials have promised since an excessive force investigation began almost immediately after the initial incident on Jan. 7.

Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black male, was stopped for reckless driving. In the first video, he is roughly pulled from his vehicle as police officers almost immediately deploy pepper spray and tasers. Nichols fled the scene and was pursued.

In the subsequent three videos, cameras provide various angles of his apprehension, when five officers, in an apparent attempt to get Nichols' hands behind his back and place him on the ground, kick, punch, pepper space and baton him for approximately three minutes.

Nichols is left writhing on the ground, handcuffed and unaided, for almost a half hour.

These videos led to the firing and subsequent indictment of five Memphis police officers on multiple charges including second degree murder.

WKNO has published these videos because of their historical importance. For those who do not wish to view them, we include the following detailed descriptions of their contents. These descriptions also contain uncensored adult language.

In this bodycam video, Officer Preston Hemphill arrives on the scene of the initial traffic stop. Tyre Nichols’ vehicle is in the left turn lane. An unmarked police car is already on its left side while another officer is at the passenger side window.

As the audio begins, officers are screaming at Nichols to get out of the car.

“You are going to get your ass blown the fuck up,” says the officer in Nichols' door as Officer Hemphill unholsters his taser and approaches the drivers' side. The officer in Nichols door grabs him and shouts, “Get the fuck out the fuckin’ car.”

“I didn’t do anything,” Nichols says.

Officer Hemphill says, “Turn your ass around.”

Nichols can be heard saying “Alright, alright, alright alright,” in a relatively calm tone, though the officers continue to push him around.

The officers get him to the ground while also commanding him to get on the ground. “Okay!” Nichols says. “Alright! I’m on the ground.”

“I’m gonna tase your ass,” says an officer.

Nichols, now on the ground, makes direct eye contact with Officer Hemphill who is grabbing his arm. He calmly says “Stop.” They then try to push Nichols face down into the street. A taser is aimed at him. Nichols says “Alright, okay!” as he complies with their orders.

Nichols hands are in front of him as they demand him to put his hands behind his back. Three officers are now issuing orders simultaneously and Nichols says, “You guys are really doing a lot right now. I’m just trying to go home.”

“Man, if you don’t lay down…” says one officer, and Nichols replies, “I am on the ground!”

In the next moment, it is unclear if the officers try to flip him flat onto his stomach or if he attempts to move, but the sound of multiple tasers can be heard. Nichols is suddenly on his feet. A police officer yells “freeze” as tasers are fired. He pulls his shirt up and proceeds to run southbound on Ross Road.

This confrontation lasts slightly over a minute.

The video continues as police remain at the scene.

“Young male black, slim build, blue jeans and hoodie,” Officer Hemphill reports into his radio. He then proceeds to assist two other officers, all of whom have pepper sprayed themselves in the face.

“I can’t see jack shit,” says Officer Hemphill, who has also lost his glasses.

The officers continue to rinse pepper spray from their eyes. An unmarked car pulls up and an officer asks “Which way he run?” The officer points and the unmarked car speeds away.

A Shelby County Sheriff's vehicle then pulls up and is pointed in the direction of Nichols.

About 7 minutes later, the radio indicates that Nichols has been sighted.

“I hope they stomp his ass,” Officer Hemphill says. He stays with Nichols' car while the first officer in the unmarked car speeds off.

This video appears to be a sky cop surveillance camera with the heading 01-07-2023, with a time: 20:33, or 8:33. The video contains no audio.

At approximately 8:33, the camera pivots to the corner of Castlegate and Bear Creek Cove off Ross Road in the Hickory Hills neighborhood of South East Memphis.

There are two unmarked cars and three police officers to start, promptly joined by a fourth officer. Nichols is on the ground. He appears to get kicked in the side.

When he is on the ground, one of the police officers appears to hold him as Nichols lifts his head. Another officer pulls his leg back and kicks him squarely in the face.

The officers appear to struggle with Nichols’ arms as he blocks his face. A fourth officer enters the scene with a baton. Two of the officers appear as if they are lifting Nichols off the ground. The officer with the nightstick swings twice at his face from behind.

The officers now have Nichols on his feet and one of them appears to be holding him up as Nichols struggles to stand on his own. One of the officers punches him twice in his face, the second time his head swings away along with his body. Nichols staggers as the officers continue to hold him up and punch at his face.

Nichols is finally flat on the ground and it appears that two of the officers are on top of him. His lower legs are lightly kicking under the officers. The officers then huddle around his head. It is unclear what they are doing.

A fifth officer arrives about three minutes into the video and immediately runs up and kicks the incapacitated Nichols in the face.

By 8:37, Nichols is handcuffed. The officers separate and Nichols rolls onto his back. A minute later, they drag him into the street and prop him up against the police car and shine flashlights in his face.

He appears to be conscious and moving. More officers arrive on the scene.

At 8:41, Nichols slumps onto the ground. EMTs seem to arrive at this time and slowly place equipment on the ground next to him. They appear to have a conversation with the officers. Nichols once again slumps over onto the ground. He is his having difficulty sitting up.

Nichols writhes on the ground, unaided by the EMT’s, for the next 20 minutes. By 8:55, he is no longer moving. One of the EMTs tries to sit him up. First aid begins being rendered by approximately 8:57 p.m. A stretcher is brought at approximately 9 pm. Several minutes later an ambulance appears in the footage.

The video shuts off before the ambulance takes him away.

This bodycam video begins at 8:32 p.m., just before a policeman gets out of his car. The audio comes on and the police officer is pursuing on foot.

“You want to get sprayed again?” the officer says as he arrives at the location where Nichols is on the ground. As officers begin to hit him in the face, Nichols screams “Mom! Mom!”

The officer with the bodycam then sprays him in the face with pepper spray.

“Gimme your fucking hand,” says one officer, as another continues to spray him in the face.

“Alright, okay,” Nichols says.

The officer who sprayed Nichols in the face has also peppersprayed everyone.

Nichols continues to scream for his mother.

As the officer with the body cam recovers from his pepper spray, we hear the officers issuing commands to “lay flat.”

After the officer with the bodycam recovers from the spray, he pulls out his nightstick and says, “I’m gonna baton the fuck out you. Gimme your fucking hands.”

Another officer says “Hit him.”

Nichols is on the ground as the officer strikes him with the baton, shouting “Give us your hands, give us your hands.”

One of the officers is visible striking Nichols in the face. The man with the body cam steps away from the scene to report that he is at Castlegate and Bear Creek. Nichols is heard moaning.

This is also police bodycam video taken from an officer who is a passenger in a car with the driver.

The officer with the camera leaps out, chases and tackles Nichols. His bodycam quickly falls off and the next several minutes offers audio only.

Nichols is heard calling for his mom and moaning.

The officers shout orders to give hands and lay flat.

An officer says, “I’m gonna baton the fuck out of you.”

At approximately 8:37, an officers says “Get him up, Goddamn.”

“He on something,” says one of the officer. “He cutting through traffic.”

The camera is retrieved and replaced on his body at 8:39.

The officers begin to discuss the details of the chase.

The paramedic arrives at approximately 8:41.

The officers claim that Nichols tried to grab for one of their guns. “He reached for Mark’s gun.”

One of the officers describes the original traffic stop. “He drove into oncoming traffic, so we tried to get him stopped. He didn’t stop. We hit the siren. Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. He drove around, like he was gonna hit my car. I was like, God damn, what were you doing. He pull up to the red light, put his turn signal on. So we jump out the car. Shit went from there.”

At 8:47, Nichols is seen writhing on the ground with a man, possibly an EMT, telling him, “you can’t go nowhere.”

The video ends at 8:50 p.m.