Authorities in the US city of Memphis released graphic video footage on Friday of the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols by police officers.
Nichols, a 29-year-old Black motorist and father, succumbed to his injuries and died three days after his encounter with police at a traffic stop earlier this month.
A day before the release of the footage, five former police officers — who had been fired a week ago — were charged with murder over Nichols' death.
What did the recordings show?
The footage, mostly from officers' body cameras, shows police savagely beating Nichols while screaming profanities at him.
Describing the footage to broadcaster CNN, Memphis police chief Cerelyn Davis said, "You are going to see acts that defy humanity."
In one video, officers are seen shouting and dragging Nichols from his car at a traffic stop. He can be heard yelling, "I didn't do anything."
The officers then force him into the ground. An officer yells: "Put your hands behind your back before I break your (expletive)." An officer yells moments later, "Put your hands behind your back before I break them."
"You guys are really doing a lot right now," Nichols says loudly to the officers. "I'm just trying to go home."
"Stop, I'm not doing anything," he yells moments later before he breaks free and sprints away down the road. An officer apparently fires a Taser at him.
Another video shows the officers catching up with Nichols. One officer pepper sprays him. Pinned on the ground, Nichols is seen being punched, kicked and beaten.
While struggling with the officers, Nichols repeatedly screamed: "Mom! Mom!" His mother has said Nichols was only about 80 yards (73 meters) from home.
District Attorney Steve Mulroy, who sought the officers' indictment, said earlier that they had pulled Nichols over for reckless driving.
Biden 'outraged' by violence
US President Joe Biden said he was "outraged and deeply pained" by the footage, adding that it "will leave people justifiably outraged."
Speaking at the White House, Biden said he spoke with Nichols' mother earlier on Friday and called for protests to remain peaceful.
The US president called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Act, aimed at tackling police misconduct and excessive use of force.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Friday a federal civil rights investigation into Nichols' death.
Law enforcement agencies in major cities across the US said they were bracing for possible protests following the video's release.
The recordings could transform Nichols into the new face of the US racial justice movement.
Who was Tyre Nichols?
Nichols' family and friends described him as an affable, accomplished skateboarder with a creative eye.
A FedEx worker, he recently enrolled in a photography class.
Many social media users shared a video that his lawyer had posted, showing him skateboarding, instead of spreading the footage of how he was beaten by police.
Nichols was raised in Sacramento, California. He moved to the Memphis area before the COVID pandemic and lived with his mother and stepfather.
fb/sri (AFP, AP, Reuters)
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