Memphis might riot as the city releases video of a black man who died after a police beating, but you might not have heard about it for some reason
· Jan 26, 2023 ·

Why do you think the media isn't playing this on loop 24/7?

Memphis' top cop has warned the local community not to react with "violence or destruction" when the body camera video of the brutal beating of black motorist Tyre Nichols is released, as law enforcement agencies across the country Thursday brace for possible unrest.

Police Chief Cerelyn Davis issued a video statement Wednesday night, in which she described Nichols' beating as "heinous, reckless and inhumane" — but at the same time urged the community not to lash out in response to the video.

"I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels," she said. "I expect you to feel outrage in the disregard of basic human rights, as our police officers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video."

It would not be surprising if most people in Memphis right now were doing the same thing:

As of right now it is unclear just how this incident played out.

But the details we do know have all the ingredients for the kind of powder-keg of racial outrage and urban violence that we saw in 2020:

Nichols, 29, who has a 4-year-old son, was beaten by a group of Memphis police officers during a traffic stop on Jan. 7 for reckless driving.

Police said in a statement the day after the encounter that "a confrontation occurred" as officers approached the vehicle and Nichols ran; they said officers caught up to him and that "another confrontation occurred" while they were taking him into custody.

Police said Nichols complained of shortness of breath and was taken to a hospital, where he died three days later.

Was the man overly, dangerously violent? Were police justified? Did they respond with reasonable force that got out of hand? Or was the police response completely unwarranted?

We don't know, but the police chief is certainly coming out against the officers themselves:

Davis explained that the video of Nichols' traffic stop was being released "in the vain [sic] of transparency," but also "to show those who watch us now that this behavior is not what will define our community and this great city."

She added: "This is not a reflection of the good work that many Memphis police officers do every day. "

It could get very ugly down there, very fast.

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