A Black man in Memphis has accused the five former police officers charged with brutally beating Tyre Nichols on Jan. 7 of assaulting him three days prior.
Monterrious Harris, 22, told Memphis affiliate ABC 24 that on Jan. 4, he was waiting for his cousin outside an apartment building on Outland Road in Hickory Hill. That’s when masked men reportedly came around the corner, wearing masks and hoodies, and told Harris to get out of the car.
According to a police report, Harris was pulled over and arrested by the former officers for allegedly driving his vehicle toward them before backing up at an increased speed and attempting to leave the scene.
However, unknowing the men’s identities, Harris assumed they intended to rob him. But shortly after he tried to escape by reversing his car and hitting an object behind him, he noticed one of the former cop’s vest with gun magazines attached to it. He believed then that men were some figure of authority.
Once Harris got out of his vehicle, he stated that his head was forced into the concrete by one of the officers, “I like put my hands up and walked towards him. I’m like, what’s going on? He grabbed me, hit me a couple of times. Other guys closed in on me.”
The assault had only stopped after Harris called out for his cousin and neighbors emerged from their homes.
“I was scared like I didn’t know what to expect,” Harris continued. “After they already had me detained and stuff, they kept saying how they wanted to air my car out. One officer was laughing at the other officer like, ‘Oh you’ve got your red beam on.’ He was like, ‘yes, I was ready to shoot him.'”
After he was arrested by another officer, Harris was taken to Shelby County Jail where he was then transported to Regional One at a nurse’s request before being taken to jail.
While in police custody, Harris’ mother contacted Spence Partners Law. It wasn’t until days later that they discovered that the former officers listed in Nichols’ case were the same ones involved in Harris’ assault.
Harris lawyer Jarrett Spence of Spence Partners Law, later announced that his client filed a lawsuit against the ex-officers citing, “We believe we can prove that there’s a policy and custom in MPD in which they violate the rights of young Black men like Monterrious.”
All five former officers of the SCORPION unit were listed on the arrest affidavit for Harris’ incident.
“What we don’t know is if this unit was something that’s been in apparition itself or if it’s something that’s capable of repetition,” Andrew Horvath, Spence Partners Law lawyer, added.
The ex-Memphis police officers are currently facing a second-degree murder conviction for their roles in the death of 29-year-old Nichols. Official documents state that additional charges include two counts of official misconduct, one count of official oppression, one count of aggravated assault, and two counts of aggravated kidnapping.