Harrowing footage of Tyre Nichols being beaten by cops in Memphis has drawn comparisons across social media to the 1991 recording of Rodney King’s brutal encounter with officers in Los Angeles.
As widely reported throughout the years, King was intoxicated when he led police on a nearly eight-mile pursuit. When he finally pulled over, he and two passengers were ordered to lay flat on the ground. Multiple officers reportedly tried to force King to the ground while he was on his hands and knees. Two policemen then tased him before ultimately resorting to beating him in the head, neck, chest and torso with batons. The 89-second attack was caught on camera by a nearby citizen, George Holliday, making it the first viral footage of police brutality.
Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Nichols’ family, said the footage would strike a visceral similarity to King’s beating before it was released on Friday (Jan. 27). “You get to see his humanity during the whole brutal attack… it’s just so difficult to watch,” Crump told CNN. He continued, “It’s going to remind you of Rodney King in many regards… being assaulted, battered, punched, kicked, tased, pepper sprayed.”
Lora Dene King, Rodney’s daughter, watched the disturbing recording of the fatal traffic stop. She said it was sickening. “I don’t feel well. It’s not a good feeling. I don’t wish that upon anybody’s family,” Lora told Rolling Stone. “I don’t think anyone should go through something like that. I don’t see how people are OK, because I’m not. I’m human, and if you’re human, you shouldn’t be OK with that video.”
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn J. Davis echoed a similar sentiment, adding that she was outraged by the officers’ conduct that defied humanity. “You’re gonna see a disregard for life, duty of care that we’re all sworn to, and a level of physical interaction that is above and beyond what is required in law enforcement. And I’m sure that — as I said before — that individuals watching will feel what the family felt. And if you don’t, you’re not a human being,” said Davis.
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I remember the Rodney King assault. I remember how many of us thought the footage would change everything, Finally there was “proof”. Now there’s footage everyday of police brutalizing us. This footage is in HD & often comes from the police. Nothing changes. #TyreNichols
— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) January 27, 2023
“He was treated less than human”: Van Turner Jr., president of the NAACP Memphis branch, says the footage released of Tyre Nichols brings up memories of previous instances of police brutality against Black Americans, including Rodney King. https://t.co/KibOEn0RZa pic.twitter.com/7cIFw2di5F
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 28, 2023
► VIDEO: Lora Dene King, daughter of Rodney King reacts to police video of Tyre Nichols: “That’s sick.That man was begging. He knew he was gonna die.” pic.twitter.com/azqAiUGysk
— Irish Times Video (@irishtimesvideo) January 28, 2023
REV. AL SHARPTON DEMANDS PROSECUTION FOR MEMPHIS POLICE OFFICERS WHO BRUTALLY BEAT TYRE NICHOLS TO DEATH DURING TRAFFIC STOP
Says Criminal Charges Necessary Beyond Firing Over Incident that Echoes 1991 Police Assault of Rodney King pic.twitter.com/zKMYRjYQYl
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) January 24, 2023
Tyre Nichols should have been at home today…. But sadly he can’t because of 5 black police officers literally beating him like Rodney King and stopping him for no apparent reason like it’s embarrassing and sad that it happened like what happened to protect and serve?? Now it’s
— Calvin Swinger ( 鏡面スインガー) (@CalvinSwingerJr) January 28, 2023
I remember my parents talking to middle-school me about Rodney King.
30 years later, I now have to talk to my mentees about Tyre Nichols.
America has a problem.
— Edward Bowser (@etbowser) January 28, 2023
Tyre Nichols = Rodney King, Part 2
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) January 27, 2023
Memphis Police Chief tells @donlemon video she has seen so far from cameras DOES NOT substantiate “reckless driving” which was what the officer claimed caused them to stop #TyreNichols
She says the officer brutality was the same or worse than the police beating of Rodney King
— Sara Sidner (@sarasidnerCNN) January 27, 2023
Decades ago we thought the Rodney King footage would change everything.
Then the murder of George Floyd shook us to our core.
We were promised change.
Yet, here we are, grieving the inhumanity experienced by Tyre Nichols.
I stand with Tyre’s family and all who seek justice.
— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) January 28, 2023
The Memphis Police Chief told @donlemon that the beating of Tyre Nichols is worse than what the nation saw with Rodney King. Let that sink in.
— Mondaire Jones (@MondaireJones) January 27, 2023