FBI director 'appalled' by Tyre Nichols traffic stop video, 'disturbing' says Garland
The nation's top law enforcement officials appealed for calm Friday as authorities prepared for the scheduled released of a Memphis police traffic stop video leading to the death of a 29-year-old Black man.
Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray called for any demonstrations to be conducted peacefully in advance of the video's planned disclosure expected to show a violent encounter involving five Memphis police officers and Tyre Nichols.
“I will tell you I was appalled,” Wray said, describing his reaction after viewing the video.
The Justice Department has launched a separate civil rights investigation into Nichols' death, while state authorities have leveled murder charges against the five officers who have since been dismissed from the force.
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What we know about Tyre Nichols' death: Memphis to release footage of traffic stop that led to death
Garland said he had not seen the video but had been briefed on its contents, calling them "deeply disturbing."
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden also has been briefed on the video but not watched it.
Biden, who called for “peaceful protests” in a prepared statement Thursday, is scheduled to depart for the presidential retreat in Camp David about an hour and a half before the video’s scheduled release. Biden spoke to the parents of Nichols by phone Friday afternoon.
“It’s devastating,” Biden can be heard saying in a phone placed on speaker and held by the Nichols family’s attorney Ben Crump. “I know people will say that to you, but I do know.”
Nichols was pulled over Jan. 7, and later hospitalized in critical condition after what police initially described as "confrontations" with officers. He died three days later.
Nichols' family and their attorneys say video showed officers beating Nichols for several minutes.
Five former officers, who were fired last week, were charged Thursday with second-degree murder and other crimes in connection to Nichols' death.
Contributing: Joey Garrison
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tyre Nichols video: FBI director 'appalled', 'disturbing' says AG