Advertisement

Family say Tyre Nichols was beaten ‘like a human piñata’ in Memphis police ‘murder’

Tyre Nichols' stepfather Rodney Wells, center, stands next to a photo of Nichols in the hospital after his arrest, during a protest in Memphis, on 14 January (AP)
Tyre Nichols' stepfather Rodney Wells, center, stands next to a photo of Nichols in the hospital after his arrest, during a protest in Memphis, on 14 January (AP)

Five Memphis police officers who left a Black motorist with fatal injuries after a brutal three-minute beating treated him like a “a human piñata,” the family’s lawyer says.

Tyre Nichols’ death during a traffic stop on 7 January has led to calls from his family for the officers to be charged with murder.

During a press conference on Monday, high-profile civil rights lawyer Ben Crump described bodycam footage of the incident as “troublesome on every level”, according to the Associated Press.

“(It) is appalling. It is deplorable. It is heinous,” Mr Crump said.

Family gathered to watch the video hours prior to its public release, and Mr Crump said it reminded him of the 1991 beating of Rodney King by LAPD officers.

“Unlike Rodney King, Tyre didn’t survive,” Mr Crump told reporters, according to the AP.

“He was a human piñata for those police officers,” another family attorney Antonio Romanucci said of the three-minute beating.

Nichols, 29, died in hospital on 10 January three days after he was pulled over by Memphis police.

Five officers as identified as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith, were fired for excessive force and failing to render aid, Memphis Police chief Cerelyn Davis announced in a statement on Friday.