On Friday night, Memphis officials released video footage of the violent arrest of Cover Nicholsa 29-year-old black man who died three days after being severely beaten during a traffic stop.
The young man’s death has caused deep pain for the Nichols family, and touched off a city-wide scandal.
Five Memphis police officers involved in the stop were fired last week, and now charged with murder.
Body camera footage of the ordeal was released by the city at 7 p.m. ET Friday. The video showed officers pulling Nichols from his car and firing a Taser weapon at him before he fled the scene on foot.
Here’s what we know about the traffic stop where things started:
Why was Nichols stopped?
The Memphis Police Department initially said Nichols was pulled over around 8:30 p.m. local time for “reckless driving.”
“When officers approached the driver of the vehicle, a confrontation ensued and the suspect fled the scene on foot,” police said at the time. – Officers pursued the suspect and again attempted to take the suspect into custody. While attempting to take the suspect into custody, another confrontation occurred; However, the suspect was eventually apprehended.”
The police management later went back on these claims.
“I’ll be honest with you about the stop itself. What was said was that there was a witness to what was considered reckless driving, says Police Chief Cerelyn Davis told CNN on Friday. “We have looked at cameras. We’ve looked at body-worn cameras. Even if something happened before this stopped, we have not been able to substantiate it.”
“We’ve taken a pretty comprehensive look to find out what the probable cause was and we haven’t been able to substantiate it,” she added. “That doesn’t mean something didn’t happen, but there’s no evidence.”
The Nichols family are also skeptical of the police’s version of events.
“We don’t know anything other than what we saw in the video,” Ben Crump, attorney for the Nichols family, so Friday during a press conference.
“They say he was driving recklessly. We’ll have to see. We certainly cannot take their word for it.”
What we do know is that after the stop began, the police and Nichols were involved in some sort of physical altercation, and at one point Nichols ran from the police.
Police dispatcher audio sourced by Fox 13 captures officers saying, “We’ve got a black man running,” while other tape obtained by CBS News records another police official saying: “He is fighting at this time.”
All told, according to MPD, two separate altercations occurred between Nichols and officers during the course of the stop, the latter of which took place just blocks from Nichols’ home.
After the stop, Nichols was hospitalized and photographed with severe bruises and cuts.
He finally died on January 10.
An external autopsy showed that his body underwent “extensive bleeding.”
Attorneys for the Nichols family say police video of the encounter shows officers viciously beating Tyre.
“He was a human piñata for these police officers,” attorney Antonio Romanucci said of the video.
“(It) is terrible. It’s regrettable. It’s horrible, said Crump, another attorney for the family.