As Police Kicked and Beat Him, He Kept Yelling Out One Thing

'Mom!' Tyre Nichols repeatedly screamed during Memphis beating, heard on video released Friday
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2023 9:00 AM CST
As Police Kicked and Beat Him, He Kept Yelling Out One Thing
Demonstrators protest Friday in Washington over the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers on Jan. 7.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The City of Memphis released videos Friday evening of the arrest and brutal beating by police officers of Tyre Nichols, who died three days later. The footage—which included three bodycam videos and a pole surveillance camera video—showed "extremely violent scenes," per the New York Times, including officers pepper-spraying and tasing Nichols, kicking him, and beating him with a baton. The AP notes that the beating of the 29-year-old FedEx worker lasted for three minutes. The Memphis Police Department initially indicated Nichols had been pulled over for reckless driving, but Police Chief Cerelyn Davis says there's so far been no evidence that was the case. More from the aftermath of the footage's public release:

  • Timeline: The Times and CNN both offer a chronological rundown of what took place the night of Jan. 7, starting at 8:24pm local time, when officers dragged Nichols out of his car during a traffic stop. "I didn't do anything!" Nichols can be heard protesting as they push him to the ground. After a minute-long struggle, Nichols is able to flee, but less than 10 minutes later, the cops catch up to him and beat him.
  • The second confrontation: Per the Times, Nichols "appears to have been kicked violently at least twice in the face, beaten three times with a baton, sprayed in the face twice with a chemical and punched in the head six times, all within the span of three minutes." At one point in one of the videos, he can be heard repeatedly screaming, "Mom!" His mother's house was just 60 yards away. By 8:37pm, he's seen "handcuffed and immobile," propped up against a car. Medics are seen arriving at 8:41pm, though they don't seem to administer aid until almost 16 minutes later. At 9:18pm, Nichols is transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
  • Protests nationwide: TMZ reports the demonstrations that took place after the video release in cities including Memphis, Los Angeles, DC, Boston, Atlanta, Seattle, and Detroit were mostly peaceful, though footage emerged out of New York City showing one man jumping on and punching the windshield of an NYPD vehicle. He was hit with charges of criminal mischief.
  • Biden speaks: "Like so many, I was outraged and deeply pained to see the horrific video of the beating that resulted in Tyre Nichols' death," the president said after viewing the footage himself on Friday, per People. "It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and brown Americans experience every single day." He said he'd also spoken to Nichols' mother and stepfather earlier in the day.

  • New probe opened: Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. has placed two deputies, as yet unnamed, on administrative leave and launched an investigation after watching the footage on Friday, per a statement cited by Fox News. "Having watched the videotape for the first time tonight, I have concerns about two deputies who appeared on the scene following the physical confrontation between police and Tyre Nichols," he said. It's not clear what he saw that sparked his concern.
  • To watch or not watch: Experts say it can be a tough call on whether to view video of Nichols' beating, as well as other videos showing violent news events, as it can take a toll on one's mental health. "We are outraged enough already without the added trauma of searing these images into our minds," clinical psychologist and racial trauma expert Dr. Monnica Williams tells CNN.
  • His parents speak: Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, and his stepfather, Rodney Wells, spoke to ABC News after the videos were released, asking everyone to review the tape themselves to see how their son was brutally treated. His mom also says said thinks her son fulfilled "God's assignment" for him. "That's what keeps me going, because I'm not going to stop until I get justice for my son," she said. CNN also had an emotional sit-down earlier with the Wellses; watch it in full here.
  • More from loved ones: NBC News talks to those who loved Nichols, including Keyana Dixon, his sister, who shared the last text he'd sent to her: "Sister, I love you so much, you hold so much value in my life. I just want you to know that."
(More Tyre Nichols stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.