The shaken police chief of Memphis said Friday that the fatal cop beat-down of Tyre Nichols involved “acts that defy humanity’’ — adding it was as horrific as the notorious 1991 beating of Rodney King.
While the Tennessee city and the wider country braced for the explosive release Friday evening of the video of Nichols’ beating, city Police Chief Cerelyn Davis ripped the five allegedly involved officers — four of whom were sprung from jail on bail Friday morning after being charged with murder.
Davis told CNN she watched the footage of Nichols’ Jan. 7 beating for the first time Sunday and described it as “about the same if not worse’’ than the infamous video of King being viciously beaten by Los Angeles cops during a 1991 driving stop — which sparked some of the worst riots the city has ever seen.
Nichols’ beating is “very much aligned with’’ that level of violence, Davis said.
“I was outraged. It was incomprehensible to me,’’ Davis said of the Nichols video.
“It was unconscionable. I don’t think I’ve witnessed anything of that nature in my entire career. Really. It was that bad.
“You’re going to see acts that defy humanity. You’re going to see a disregard for life, a duty of care, that we’re all sworn to. … There was an amount of aggression that is unexplainable.’’
Davis insisted that the chilling incident did not involve race. The victim was black, as were the five accused cops.
“As this video will show you, it doesn’t matter who’s wearing this uniform — we have this same responsibly,’’ Davis said.
“It takes race off the table,’’ the top cop said of the police brutality. “It takes off the table that issues and problems in law enforcement is about race, and it is not.
“It is about human dignity, integrity, accountability, and the ability to protect our community.”
Davis added that the department has been “unable to substantiate at this time’’ that Nichols actually was recklessly driving, which is the reason the officers gave for stopping him in the first place.
“There’s no proof,’’ at least at this point, she said.
Comments are closed.