Boston MA Authorities Prepare for Possible Protests over Publication of Video of Deadly Beating in Memphis – NBC New England

The long-awaited release of images showing the fatal beating of Tire Nichols, a black driver who died three days after a confrontation with police in Memphis, Tennessee, has officials in Boston and across the country bracing for potential protests.

Police say they stopped Nichols for reckless driving on January 7, two clashes ensued, after which Nichols complained of shortness of breath.

The 29-year-old father died at the hospital three days later.

On January 20, the five Memphis police officers, who are all black, were fired after an internal investigation found they violated various department policies, including excessive use of force, the duty to intervene and the duty to lend help.

They were officially charged Thursday with murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping resulting in bodily harm and official misconduct charges.

One of the former officers, Desmond Mills, Jr., is from Connecticut. The other charged officers are Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith and Emmitt Martin, III.

As we await the expected release of body camera video of the arrest, attorneys for the former officers and the Nichols family have vastly different views of their conduct during that arrest.

“No one out there that night intended for Tire Nichols to die. No one,” said attorney William Massey, who is representing Martin.

“There is never a level of humanity extended to Tire by the officers. He kept waiting for someone to say, ‘Hey guys, we’ve got him, let’s calm down,'” said Ben Crump, who represents the Nichols family.

On a local level, the founder of the New Democracy Coalition, the Rev. Kevin Peterson, said in a statement: “Our concern is that this Memphis killing of a black man by police could inflame local passions in our city… We recognize that protesters have the right to express their anger at what they can see on the video, but we also urge calm and peaceful dissent.”

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It’s unclear what scale of protests are expected, but the video has been described as “horrific”, “appalling” and compared to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King. The Nichols family is calling for a peaceful protest.

All five former officers have pleaded not guilty.

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