Capitol Police officials are beefing up security on the Hill amid heightened concerns over Friday’s expected release of reportedly brutal police footage from a traffic stop that led to the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tenn.
The Capitol’s law enforcement entity is expected to increase its security posture as departments around the country gird for protests over the weekend related to the Nichols arrest footage, according to two people familiar with the situation who spoke candidly on condition of anonymity. Security boosts ahead of anticipated protest activity generally mean longer hours for officers.
Congressional party leadership has been briefed on the ongoing matters, according to another person familiar with the conversations. Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Five Memphis police officers were charged with murder and other crimes Thursday related to the death of Nichols, who died on Jan. 10. Nichols, who is Black, was stopped by police on Jan. 7. The officers, all of them also Black, were fired by the department last week.
Officials are expected to release video footage from the beating on Friday, though it’s not yet clear how extensive the disclosure will be.
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who represents Memphis, discussed the potential for protests on the floor Thursday, urging “peaceful” demonstrations.
“It could be a situation where people want to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest actions of the police department, and people should. But they should be peaceful and calm … I pray for my city,” Cohen said in a floor speech on Thursday.
D.C. police said they are also “fully activating” the force on Friday in preparation for possible protests. The House is expected to be in session for several hours Friday as they complete consideration of an energy bill related to drilling on public lands. The Senate will be out of session.
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