The world of NBA united as horrific footage of five police officers fatally beating Tyre Nichols emerged Friday night.
The 29-year-old died in hospital on January 10, three days after being beaten by the officers. Video released by police in Memphis showed the brutal January 7 assault.
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said ‘this is just crazy’ as the harrowing footage was released before his team’s game with the Orlando Magic.
The Memphis Police Department has released harrowing bodycam footage of five police officers fatally beating Tyre Nichols
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra (L) and Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins spoke out
While the Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins revealed he could not hold back his emotions when watching a televised interview of Nichols’ mother speaking about the loss of her son.
‘I cried,’ Jenkins said.
The Grizzlies released a statement Friday night, offering their support to Nichols’s family and friends after the ‘needless loss of life’.
Nichols is pictured in hospital after the incident. The 29-year-old from Memphis died on January 10 from cardiac arrest and kidney failure, three days after he was pulled over for reckless driving by police in unmarked cars
‘Mom! Mom!’ screams Nichols as he is pinned to the ground by multiple officers following a foot chase, pepper sprayed in the face, and kicked and punched
Several teams released statements of support for the family, as did the National Basketball Players Association.
The officers, who are also Black, all face second-degree murder charges, as well as charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
And the Grizzlies played a game in Minneapolis – the city where George Floyd, a Black man, was killed after a white police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck in an act that sparked protests worldwide over police brutality and racism – on Friday night with heavy hearts.
‘The senseless loss of life for Tyre Nichols has really hit us hard,’ Jenkins told Bally Sports, the Grizzlies’ broadcast partner, in a pregame interview from Minnesota.
‘It’s been tough being on the road, not being home. I wish I could extend my arms through this camera right now to the family. They’re going through a lot.’
There was a moment of silence before the game in Minnesota. Several teams, including Miami, Atlanta, Cleveland, Minnesota and Milwaukee, released statements.
‘We are outraged by the deadly beating that Tyre Nichols received from five Memphis police officers,’ the Bucks said in their statement.
‘While the police officers being charged for their heinous actions is an important step for justice, this incident further highlights the need for progress in improving police-community relations.’
Nichols was on his way home from taking pictures of the sky on January 7, when police pulled him over. He was just a few minutes from the home he shared with his mother and stepfather.
Several teams released statements of support for the family, as did the NBA Friday evening
Charged with second degree murder are (top, left to right) Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, and (bottom, left to right) Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith
The National Basketball Players Association also sent their condolences to Nichols’s family
Video of the killing was released Friday evening. It was not immediately clear if the Grizzlies viewed the video before their game.
‘Our hearts go out to the entire Memphis community as they are processing and dealing with this horrible tragedy, and we stand by the rightful arrest of all officers involved,’ the NBPA said.
‘Such aggressive policing and excessive force illustrate the continued need for accountability in the justice system.’
The union said it would ‘continue to monitor the investigation and legal proceedings in search of justice for Tyre and his family.’
Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, warned supporters of the ‘horrific’ nature of the video but pleaded for peace.
Jenkins also said he hopes citizens of Memphis rally around one another.
‘My words will only mean so much,’ Jenkins said.
‘I want to continue to encourage people to put their arms around each other, put their arms around the Nichols family, the Wells family to remember a beautiful life in Tyre Nichols – who I did not know, but I’m learning about.’
‘We stand in solidarity with the family and friends of Tyre Nichols,’ the WNBPA said in a statement.
‘We are outraged. The police killing of Tyre Nichols marks the continuation of horrific police brutality against yet another Black man. This appalling police misconduct endangers us all and erodes the continuously waning trust of the police within our communities.’