Former Washington, D.C., homicide detective and Fox News contributor Ted Williams says the Memphis Police Department’s plans to release police-worn bodycam footage showing the Jan. 7 police beating of Tyre Nichols on Friday evening is “very, very troubling.”
MPD is expected to make the bodycam video — which Attorney General Merrick Garland described as “deeply disturbing” — public around 7 p.m. ET on Friday, leading cities across the United States, including Memphis, Atlanta and New York City, to prepare for potentially large protests beginning on Friday evening and continuing throughout the weekend.
“To put this out here in the dead of night, I think, is a disadvantage to law enforcement officers who are trying to uphold the law, and I think that is very, very troubling,” Williams told Fox News Digital.
The former detective added that releasing the video at night gives people — especially those in urban communities — who want to wreak havoc in cities “an advantage.”
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“This is the key. There are people…who are going to take advantage of the situation, and those people are all over this country,” he said, adding that he believes releasing the video “on any given morning” would have been better than publishing it on Friday evening, which he likened to putting fuel on “an already lit fire.”
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Former police officer and Secret Service agent Michael Verden, now the founder and CEO of security company The Lake Forest Group, told Fox News Digital that he believes Memphis police are likely releasing the video on Friday evening in an effort to give people time to get home at the end of the work week before potential demonstrations begin.
“Most businesses are closed — even though restaurants, retail, etcetera, are open until evening — most businesses are nine to five, right? So, I think that’s part of the strategy is to release it so people that commute and work in the city can safely leave but still have a productive workday,” Verden said.
The evening release may also give businesses time to proactively board up their windows, the former Secret Service agent said, adding that he expects “violent protests not only in Memphis but in other parts of the country.”
Tennessee Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President Scott DeLaschmit confirmed Verden’s theory.
“First off, we would like to say that what happened in Memphis is a tragedy. It’s a travesty, and that’s not the way any officers are trained,” DeLaschmit said. “Second, I think the reason they are releasing this video on a Friday afternoon is: there are a lot of businesses downtown, and that’s usually where the protests occur, and according to the rumors we’re hearing, [Memphis PD] is looking to give the businesses a couple of days before they open back up on Monday morning.”
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Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, on Thursday evening asked demonstrators protesting police brutality after her son’s death to remain peaceful.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing her family, reviewed the bodycam video earlier this week. He described the video as “appalling” and likened it to the 1991 beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles.
“When that tape comes out tomorrow, it’s going to be horrific. I didn’t see it, but from what I hear it’s going to be horrific,” Wells told a crowd that gathered Thursday at the Tobey Skate Park. “But I want each and every one of you to protest in peace. I don’t want us burning up our cities, tearing up the streets because that’s not what my son stood for.”
Nichols, a Black man, died in the hospital three days after five Black police officers — including Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — allegedly beat the 29-year-old following a traffic stop.
On Jan. 20, MPD announced the termination of the five officers involved in the incident for violating “multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid,” MPD Chief CJ Davis said in a press release at the time. All five were hired between 2017 and 2020.
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The former officers turned themselves in and were each charged with seven counts, including one count of second-degree murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of official oppression and two counts each of aggravated kidnapping and official misconduct. The five officers were also released on bond as of Friday afternoon.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division also opened an investigation into the incident on Jan. 18.
“As this is an open investigation, we are not able to provide additional comment or release further information at this time,” U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee Kevin Ritz said in a statement at the time.
Nichols was a FedEx worker, a skateboarder, a photographer and a father, according to Crump.
“He loved his son. Everything he was trying to do was to better himself as a father for his 4-year-old son,” the civil rights attorney said.
Source: Fox News