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Trump speaks out on Tyre Nichols killing: ‘Never should have happened’

Former president made comments at campaign event in South Carolina

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Sunday 29 January 2023 17:11 GMT
Tyre Nichols: Video released of Memphis police beating black man

Donald Trump has described the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols as “horrible” and says that it “never should have happened.”

The former president’s comments came one day after the city of Memphis publicly released video footage of the attack earlier this month.

The video shows a violent confrontation between officers from the unit and 29-year-old Nichols, during which officers can be seen punching him and using batons and taser weapons to subdue him as he cried out for his mother.

The officers were then seen standing around after the attack and failing to provide any medical care as they laughed and joked about their roles in the shocking arrest.

“I thought it was terrible,” Mr Trump told The Associated Press on Saturday. “He was in such trouble. He was just being pummeled. Now that should never have happened.”

Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith — all former Memphis Police Department officers — have been charged with second-degree murder. The officers were fired last week after an investigation into Mr Nichols’ death.

The former officers are each facing additional charges, which are aggravated assault – acting in concert; aggravated kidnapping; official misconduct and official oppression, according to the Shelby County District Attorney’s office.

The police department announced the firing of the officers on 20 January.

And on Saturday MPD announced that it had shut down the “Scorpion” unit, of which all five police officers were members.

The decision to “permanently deactivate” the unit came on Saturday after the city’s police chief CJ Davis met with the unit’s remaining officers to discuss a way forward in the wake of the death of Nichols.

“In the process of listening intently to the family of Tyre Nichols, community leaders, and the uninvolved officers who have done quality work in their assignments, it is in the best interests of all to permanently deactivate the SCORPION unit,” the department said in a statement.

Mr Trump made the comments to The Associated Press while campaigning in South Carolina on Saturday, one of the first events in his 2024 White House bid.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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