MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis’ mayor and police chief sat down Friday morning for their first local interview with a Memphis station, hours before the expected release of video showing the traffic stop that led to the death of Tyre Nichols earlier this month.
“I wasn’t prepared for what I saw,” Davis said, describing the video. “I was horrified, hurt, angered at what I saw. In my 36 years in law enforcement, I don’t think I have witnessed the disregard for a human being displayed in this video.”
All officials were asked how they determined that the video footage would be released on Friday after 6 p.m.
“We want to get it out to the public as soon as possible,” said Davis. “We had to think about businesses and schools. People going to and from could be disrupted due to potential protests.”
Mayor Strickland said he’s done research on other cities and has seen no correlation between the length of protest and when videos were released.
Mulroy confirmed that the video footage would be released through the city’s YouTube channel, and the footage is expected to be over an hour long.
The five former officers arrested all belonged to the police department’s SCORPION unit, which officials made clear would be investigated.
“We’re going to hire an outside entity to review specialized units from every angle,” said Strickland.
The police chief says the unit was created for communities experiencing violent crime and was successful until recently. “[The unit] took 800 guns off the street and arrested 2,000 felons in one year, reducing violent crimes and homicides.”
Davis also answered whether this put her leadership into question. “I have stood and have done the work as it relates to how to manage the organization. What’s important to the organization, the changes that I’ve made here, I think if you interview the officers, they will realize that I’m about 21st-century policing, technology, developing our officers and ensuring that they have career development.”
Those present asked that the community protest peacefully following the release of the video. “Respect the family’s wishes and Tyre’s memory,” said Hardaway. “Set the bar for the rest of the nation. The eyes of the world are upon us.”
The five former Memphis police officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols have been released on bond.