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City of Memphis, MPD say video of confrontation between Tyre Nichols and police could be released next week

The mayor and police chief said the video would be released after the internal MPD investigation is completed and Nichols' family could review the footage.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Memphis and MPD said Tuesday that video of the arrest of Tyre Nichols, who died after a traffic stop and confrontation with Memphis Police, will be released when an internal investigation is completed.

In a statement, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Police Chief CJ Davis said MPD’s internal investigation is expected to be completed by the end of the week, and they are arranging a meeting with Nichols family and attorney Ben Crump, who the family has retained. They said once the family has reviewed the video privately, it can be released.

The full statement from Strickland and Davis reads as follows:

“We understand and agree that transparency around the events surrounding the death of Mr. Tyre Nichols is critically important, especially the release of the video footage. Because this is an open investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), MPD has reached out to TBI and the Shelby County District Attorney, Steve Mulroy. 

The video will be released publicly after the completion of the internal investigation into the actions of the officers and after the family of Mr. Nichols has had the opportunity to review the video privately.

We anticipate that MPD’s internal investigation will be completed by the end of this week. The City has spoken with Ben Crump, attorney for the family of Mr. Nichols, and we are arranging a meeting with them early next week.”

Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy released the following statement regarding the release of video: "Our office is committed to transparency and understands the reasonable request from the public to view the video footage. However, we must ensure we abide by applicable laws and ethical rules so that we do not jeopardize an ongoing investigation or prosecution. We’re working with the appropriate agencies to determine how quickly we can release the video, and will do so as soon as we can. We’ll be sure to update the public throughout this process."

In a statement released Monday, Crump said they are demanding MPD release body camera and surveillance footage from the traffic stop and arrest. “All of the available information tells us that this was the tragic and preventable death of a young man deeply beloved by his family and community. This kind of in-custody death destroys community trust if agencies are not swiftly transparent. The most effective way for the Memphis Police Department to be transparent with the grieving Nichols family and the Memphis community is to release the body camera and surveillance footage from the traffic stop. Nobody should ever die from a simple traffic stop – the footage is the only way to discern the true narrative of why and how that happened to Tyre.”

Protesters Monday interrupted the mayor's MLK Day breakfast, calling for justice for Nichols. Saturday, Jan. 14, Nichols' loved ones joined community members for a protest outside of the Ridgeway Police precinct, calling for MPD to release body camera footage.

MPD said Sunday "its own administrative investigation" had been launched and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) continues to look into Nichols’ death. MPD said its investigation began on Jan. 7, the day they said Nichols was approached by officers for a traffic stop.

Investigators said around 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 7, officers tried to make a traffic stop for reckless driving in the area of Raines Road and Ross Road, and MPD said a confrontation happened when officers approached the driver of the vehicle, identified as Nichols. MPD said Nichols ran away and then a second confrontation took place. According to MPD, Nichols told officers he was short of breath before being transported to St. Francis hospital in critical condition. The TBI said Nichols died on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

In the statement released Sunday, MPD Chief CJ Davis said, “After reviewing various sources of information involving this incident, I have found that it is necessary to take immediate and appropriate action. Today, the department is serving notice to the officers involved of the impending administrative actions.” 

In the same statement, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said, "Make no doubt, we take departmental violations very seriously and, while we must complete the investigation process, it is our top priority to ensure that swift justice is served. We want citizens to know that we are prepared to take immediate and appropriate actions based on what the findings determine." 

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