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‘Does Not Match Up’: Memphis Police Under Fire for Misrepresenting Gruesome Events Seen In Tyre Nichols Video as 20 Hours of Footage Still Withheld

Memphis police face growing criticism after reports reveal footage of the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols contradicts the official police report, while an additional 20 hours of video has not been made public.

According to multiple media outlets on Wednesday, the report depicted Nichols as the aggressor and claimed he started to fight the officers. The officers reported the 29-year-old reached for their guns – all of which was not seen on the body-camera and surveillance videos released last week.

“The incident report that has gone public does not match up on all fours with what one sees when one looks at the video that’s already been released,” Shelby County District Attorney Steven Mulroy told CNN.  

Officials still have up to 20 more hours of video and audio to release to the public, ABC News reports.

The new details come nearly a month after Nichols died at the hands of police. On Feb. 1, his family laid him to rest at a funeral service filled with high-profile Black figures, including Rev. Al Sharpton and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“When we look at this situation, this is a family that lost their son and their brother through an act of violence at the hands and the feet of people who had been charged with keeping them safe,” the vice president said.

Kamala Harris Al Sharpton
A screenshot of Kamala Harris and Al Sharpton at Tyre Nichols’ funeral service (Photo: Twitter/BenCrump)

“You don’t fight crime by becoming criminals yourself…That ain’t the police. That’s punks,” Sharpton said.

The official report from the Memphis Police Department on the Jan. 7 arrest of Nichols omits some of the fired officers’ actions and appears to fabricate actions from Nichols.

While the official police report is expected to be released “within days” according to NBC News, some media outlets have obtained portions of the report, revealing overt contradictions to the gruesome body-camera video.

The videos released by the City of Memphis of the traffic stop began with Nichols seen pulled over as officers approached his driver’s side door. They are heard yelling a barrage of verbal commands before aggressively grabbing Nichols out of the car by his arms and pulling him to the ground. Hemphill reportedly used a Taser on Nichols, and he was sprayed with pepper spray several times as police took control of him.

Nichols managed to escape the officers’ rough grasp; he then ran to a nearby residential area where he was caught minutes later by the officers. The officers pinned Nichols to the ground as they punched and kicked him multiple times. The 29-year-old was pulled to his feet with his arms restrained by two officers and two others continued to beat him, including with a police baton.

However, within the report, the officers claimed “Nichols started to fight” with them according to ABC News.

The police also claimed, Nichols was “actively resisting” and that he “reached for their guns and pulled on their duty belts and vests,” none of which is clearly seen in the combined hour-long video released.

Nichols’ disposition was also described as “irate.” Since the video was released on Jan. 27, Nichols was praised by his family, attorneys and investigators for his calm demeanor throughout the violent attack.

Five Memphis police officers have been fired and criminally charged in connection to the incident. One additional officer has been fired and another one was suspended but neither has been criminally so far. Three EMTs also lost their jobs for their inaction while responding to the scene.

Among the fired officers, three of them were members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. The fraternity released a statement announcing that the organization revoked their memberships, referring to the incident as “horrific.”

“Effective immediately, the Fraternity has revoked the membership of the three former Memphis police officers and all related privileges they may have enjoyed as members of our Fraternity.”

As more details emerge with additional video and audio of Nichols’ deadly police encounter the importance of documented evidence is critical, says attorney Michael Rains.

“There’s no training that any human being can go through that is going to teach them how to record an event like a machine,” Rains told ABC News.

The fired officers accused of murdering Nichols will have a bond arraignment hearing on Feb. 17.

Although Memphis police chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis quickly fired the officers who severely beat Nichols, she has a checkered past that’s drawn criticism.

Davis previously worked for the Atlanta Police Department, serving as major before she was fired in 2008, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She reportedly told officers not to investigate a sex crimes case involving former Atlanta police Sgt. Terrill Marion Crane, who was later indicted and pleaded guilty to child pornography.

Memphis police chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis has faced scrutiny over her handling of aggressive police units throughout her law enforcement career. (Photo: Twitter/1cjdcop)

Davis also once led the now-defunct REDDOG Unit most prevalent during the 1990s. The unit stood for “Run Every Drug Dealer Out of Georgia.” The unit was Atlanta’s version of the now-defunct SCORPION the five fired officers were a part of through their duties with the Memphis Police Department. These units were comprised of a group of officers within the department hyper-focused on the city’s most violent crimes.

The REDDOG unit was disbanded in 2011, after mounting pressure following the fatal shooting of a 92-year-old woman in 2006. The unit burst into Kathryn Johnston’s home using a no-knock warrant based on bad information. Johnston grabbed her pistol and “shot once to protect herself,” but police returned fire shooting “39 times, hitting her six times.”  

“When I heard about SCORPION unit, the first thing I thought about was REDDOG as of course the killing of Kathryn Johnston,” Georgia NAACP president Gerald Griggs told WXIA.

Davis also served as police chief for the Durham Police Department in North Carolina from June 2016 until June 2021. Under her watch, Durham Police had a similar unit to SCORPION and REDDOGS called the “Crime Area Target Team,” WRAL reported.

While in Durham, a controversial excessive force case happened under Davis’ watch. A 16-year-old was body-slammed by an officer after the teen was accused of possessing drugs during his school lunch period. Durham wound up settling a $100,000 civil lawsuit with the teen’s family in 2022.  

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