Video of Tyre Nichols' deadly traffic stop expected to be released within 2 weeks Attorneys for the Black man who died after a traffic stop say video shows Memphis, Tenn., police beating him like a "human piñata." Lawyers and Nichols' family saw the video for the first time Monday.

Video of Tyre Nichols' deadly traffic stop expected to be released within 2 weeks

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

: [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: An earlier headline incorrectly said the video of the deadly traffic stop won't be made public for at least a week. In fact, it's expected to be made public at some time within the next two weeks.]


Authorities in Memphis, Tenn., say they will release video of the police beating of a Black man. His family saw the tape yesterday. And an attorney for the family of Tyre Nichols asserts he was treated like a, quote, "human pinata." WKNO's Katie Riordan reports.

KATIE RIORDAN, BYLINE: As attorney Antonio Romanucci stood beside Tyre Nichols' grieving mother and stepfather at a church in downtown Memphis, he said during the multiple-minute video, Nichols was defenseless.


ANTONIO ROMANUCCI: It was an unadulterated, unabashed, nonstop beating of this young boy.

ROWVAUGHN WELLS: (Crying) Oh, my God.

RIORDAN: Nichols was 29. Earlier in the day, law enforcement officials showed his family video of the January 7 traffic stop when officers pulled Nichols over for reckless driving. He was taken to the hospital after what officers initially reported as a foot chase and two confrontations. He died three days later, although no cause of death has been released. The Memphis Police Department has dismissed five officers implicated in the incident. Violations include excessive use of force and failure to intervene and render aid. All of the officers are Black, which civil rights attorney Ben Crump said is immaterial.


BEN CRUMP: People have this misnomer that we're anti white cops. No, we're anti bad cops.

RIORDAN: Crump compared the video to the 1991 Rodney King beating at the hands of law enforcement. Still, he said patience is in order as state and federal authorities consider criminal charges in the case. Crump said Nichols called out for his mother, RowVaughn Wells, at the end of the video.


WELLS: He had my name tattooed on his arm, and that made me proud because most kids don't put their mom's name.

RIORDAN: She said her son was less than 300 feet from her home when officers seized him. According to his family, Nichols was a passionate skateboarder and a father of one who loved homemade cooking and photographing sunsets. Nichols and his stepfather, Rodney Wells, worked together at FedEx.


RODNEY WELLS: Our son ran because he was scared for his life. He did not run because he was trying to get rid of no drugs, no guns, no any of that. He ran because he was scared for his life. And when you see the video, you will see why he was scared for his life.

RIORDAN: Local officials have pledged to share the video footage publicly once investigations allow, expected in the next two weeks.

For NPR News, I'm Katie Riordan in Memphis.

Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.