Video footage showing how a traffic stop in Memphis for suspicion of reckless driving led to the death of the Black motorist, Tyre Nichols, was released today.



The city of Memphis is bracing for the release of videos that show the beating of Black motorist Tyre Nichols by five now-former police officers. The officers, all of whom are Black, have been charged with second-degree murder, among other charges. And law enforcement officials say what the videos show is inhumane. WKNO's Katie Riordan is in Memphis covering the case. Katie, what's going on in the city right now? What's the feeling there?

KATIE RIORDAN, BYLINE: Yeah, people are grieving and in pain. There's a sense of weariness that people have to go through this, that a traffic stop from what the officer said was reckless driving has come to this. There's also a sense of frustration. And I think that people are just dreading seeing this footage. Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, said today she's not watched all of the video and warned people with children not to let their kids watch it. And a lot of people are saying that.

SHAPIRO: There was a press conference today with the Nichols family and their attorneys. What'd they say?

RIORDAN: Attorney Ben Crump said he's never seen such swift justice like he has in this case against these officers. And he said how authorities have handled this case has really created a new model. Here we can listen to what he said.


BEN CRUMP: We have a precedent that has been set here in Memphis. And we intend to hold this blueprint for all America from this day forward.

RIORDAN: Crump also said that the only way to get justice for Tyre is to call out what he said is an institutionalized police culture. And another attorney for the family said special units like the one that stopped Tyre should be disbanded. Memphis's police chief has already called for an independent review of that unit. And Tyre's stepdad, Rodney Wells, said he's pleased with the second-degree murder charges. Tyre's mom said she really hasn't had time to grieve yet, but she knows Tyre is smiling down.


ROWVAUGHN WELLS: He always said he was going to be famous one day. I didn't know this is how he was going to - this is what he meant.

SHAPIRO: Now, let's talk about that footage that is scheduled to be released sometime this evening. Law enforcement officials and attorneys who've seen it have called it appalling and inhumane. What more can you tell us about it?

RIORDAN: Well, we know it'll be body cam and other surveillance footage. The video will be uploaded to YouTube in four parts, according to the Memphis Police Department. When it'll be released is not totally clear but sometime around 6 p.m. Central. Memphis's police chief, C.J. Davis, told CNN today that she saw some of the video the morning after the incident and that she's never witnessed anything like it.


C J DAVIS: You're going to see acts that defy humanity and a level of physical interaction that is above and beyond what is required in law enforcement. And I'm sure that individuals watching will feel what the family felt. And if you don't, you're not a human being. And we all are human beings.

RIORDAN: She said the officers' aggression is just unexplainable. They were riled up from the start, and it just increased from there.

SHAPIRO: Now, the parents of Tyre Nichols, along with law enforcement, have repeatedly called for peaceful protests once the videos are out. What can you tell us about plans for protests in Memphis?

RIORDAN: The city has been bracing since the officers were fired a week ago. With the timing of the release this evening, people have had had time to leave downtown and go home for the weekend. Schools in Memphis have canceled all of their activities this afternoon. And other cities across the country are also getting ready for tonight just in case. During this afternoon's press conference, Rodney Wells again cautioned against violence and said that he didn't want any kind of uproar.


RODNEY WELLS: Please, please protest but protest safely.

RIORDAN: So we'll be watching for people's reactions when the footage comes out.

SHAPIRO: That is WKNO's Katie Riordan, who is going to be following what happens after that video is released this evening. Katie, thank you for your reporting.

RIORDAN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.