A police report documenting the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols includes a glaringly different account of the arrest compared to what video footage of the incident revealed.
The report, written by an officer hours after the arrest of the 29-year-old FedEx driver, tells a story of an “irate” suspect who repeatedly fought officers and reached for a cop’s gun.
But footage of the arrest shows no evidence that Nichols tried to fight the Memphis police officers or reach for a gun. Instead, videos released Friday show the aspiring photographer pleading for mercy while the group of Memphis cops punch, kick and pepper-spray him again and again.
Nichols never once took a swing at the officers, the videos released by the Memphis Police Department show. He never lunged for one of the cop’s guns or pulled at their vests and duty belts, as the arrest report alleges.
As seen in the video, Nichols cried out for his mother who lived about 60 yards away as he suffered blow after blow.
A photograph of the arrest report which appears to have been retrieved from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office was posted to Facebook by Thaddeus Matthews, a Memphis talk-show host known as The Cussing Pastor. Matthews said he got it from a source and the contents of the report were validated by the local district attorney, Steven Mulroy, according to the New York Times.
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry on the report and its validity.
The report’s author wrote that the detectives were able to get Nichols into custody “after several verbal command [sic].” It mentions one cop using his baton to strike him in the right arm, but fails to mention the extent of the beating that sent Nichols to the hospital in critical condition.
At one point in the footage, Nichols was held down on the ground by two cops while a third repeatedly kicked him in the face. A fourth cop can be seen bludgeoning him with a baton while another cheered him on.
The videos showed Nichols was punched in the head at least six times before cops handcuffed him and propped him up against a nearby car.
He died in the hospital three days later.
A preliminary autopsy report concluded he had “suffered excessive bleeding caused by a severe beating,” although the official cause of his death has yet to be released.
Five Memphis officers were fired from the department on Jan. 20 and have since been charged with his murder.
Officers Tadarrius Bean, 24, Demetrius Haley, 30, Emmitt Martin III, 30, Desmond Mills Jr., 32, and Justin Smith, 28, were each charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression in addition to second-degree murder.
All five were booked into Shelby County jail. Each officer posted between $250,000 and $350,000 bail and has since been released.
A sixth Memphis officer, Preston Hemphill, has been suspended from the department. He initially tased Nichols following the traffic stop, but was not at the second location where he was beaten, his lawyer said.
Three members of the Memphis Fire Department who responded to a request for medical attention following Nichol’s arrest were also fired on Monday for failing to “to conduct an adequate patient assessment on the victim,” the fire chief said.
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