Tyre Nichols’ family lawyer Ben Crump hopes brutal beatdown a ‘watershed moment’ leading to police reform
The lawyer repping the kin of slain police-brutality victim Tyre Nichols acknowledged Sunday he doesn’t know if all of the accused cops will be convicted of murder — as new details emerged about the officers’ first court date.
Prominent civil-rights lawyer Ben Crump — calling the video that captured the 29-year-old FedEx worker’s beat-down in Memphis “a watershed moment for America” — told CNN’s “State of the Union,” “I believe that all of [accused cops] will be convicted of crimes.
“Whether all of them will be convicted of murder, we have to dissect this video,” he told correspondent Dana Bash.
“One thing is for certain Dana; all of these officers failed their oath,” Crump said. “They failed their oath to protect and serve. Look at that video.”
“Was anybody trying to protect and serve Tyre Nichols?”
“How many of these tragedies do we have to see on video before we say, ‘We have a problem America.’ “
Family says Nichols, the dad of a 4-year-old boy, was driving home from taking photos of the sunset at a local park the evening of Jan. 7 when he was stopped by Memphis cops who claimed he was under the influence.
Nichols fled the cops on foot as they appeared to grow increasingly aggressive and was soon nabbed nearby and given what ended up being a lethal caught-on-video beating by the officers, his family says. Memphis’s police chief has said there is no evidence Nichols was doing anything wrong when he was stopped.
Five cops were fired and quickly charged with second-degree murder and other raps in the case.
They were all released on bail Friday. Their arraignment is now slated for Feb. 17 at 10 a.m. in Shelby County court, records show.
Crump said he hopes the swift bringing of charges against the officers will be a “blueprint going forward, whether the officers are black or white,” and that the incident will spur the passage of a federal police-reform introduced in Congress in 2021. The five charged cops are black, as was Nichols.
“Shame on us if we don’t use his tragic death to finally get the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act passed,” Crump said.
The proposal would ban no-knock warrants, chokeholds and the use of deadly force as a first resort for police and make it easier for federal and state prosecutors to conduct excessive-force investigations.
“We haven’t had federal police reform since President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Great Society,” Crump said.
“It didn’t happen with Rodney King, it didn’t happen with Michael Brown of Ferguson, and it didn’t happen with George Floyd.”
Meanwhile, an online fundraiser to pay for Nichols’ memorial had surpassed $1 million, as more than 25,000 donors opened their wallets while national outrage over the fatal police beating continues to swell.
Countrywide protests sparked by the release of surveillance and body-cam video of the deadly beating Friday were expected to continue for the third straight day in cities from coast to coast.