Americans sickened and appalled by the bodycam video released Friday of the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols by police in Memphis, Tennessee, poured out their horror, fury and frustration on social media.
The 29-year-old Black man died three days after he was viciously beaten and pepper-sprayed following a traffic stop.
“I’m just trying to go home,” Nichols told police at one point.
Anthony Michael Kreis, an assistant professor of law at Georgia State University, blasted the “depraved indifference toward human life” revealed in the video and called it “nothing short of an extra-judicial execution.”
Miranda Yaver, an assistant professor of political science at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, compared it to watching the vicious videotaped beating of Rodney King in 1991 by Los Angeles police officers during an arrest after a traffic stop. “It’s infuriating how little has changed since then,” she tweeted.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis also compared the two attacks, calling the video footage of Nichols’ beating “about the same if not worse” than that of LAPD officers attacking King.
“I was outraged. It was incomprehensible to me. I don’t think I’ve witnessed anything of that nature in my entire career,” Davis told CNN’s Don Lemon Thursday.
The Shelby County, Tennessee, sheriff tweeted that he saw two of his deputies in the video as they arrived on the scene. He said that those deputies would be relieved of duty pending an investigation into their conduct.
Lawmakers were calling for changes that would prevent the same type of brutal crime from happening in the future.
“Tragically we have been here time & time again,” tweeted Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.). “But we must never accept injustice & cruelty as the price for public safety. This has to stop.”
“Yes, the police officers who brutally murdered” Nichols “must be held accountable,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) demanded in a tweet. He also insisted: “We must do everything in our power to end police violence against people of color.”
Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) asked, “To my colleagues in Congress: how many more people have to die at the hands of police for you to join our push for an unequivocal, affirmative public safety agenda that saves lives?”