Tyre Nichols brutal arrest ‘worse’ than Rodney King, Memphis police chief says

The video showing the police beating of Tyre Nichols is perhaps worse than the notorious footage showing the attack on Rodney King, according to the Memphis Police Chief.

On Friday, authorities released four different pieces of video showing the 29-year-old being punched, kicked in the head, struck with a baton and pepper-sprayed, after a traffic stop turned into deadly chaos on January 7.

Mr Nichols would die three days later in hospital, and five officers who were part of a special so-called SCORPION unit involved in his detention, have been fired and charged with murder.

Three parts of the video contained many expletives, along with threats to further punch or kick Mr Nichols, the father of a young son.

The final piece of footage released by police contained no audio and gave an elevated view of the officers as they kicked Mr Nichols.

As he lay on the ground, held down by two officers, a third kicked him in the head, at least twice.

The elevated angle the video was shot at, and the repeated way the officers attacked Mr Nichols, led many to liken it to the 1991 beating of Rodney King by four white officers.

Beating of Rodney King (left) and Tyre Nichols (right) separated by more than 30 years (Memphis Police Department)
Beating of Rodney King (left) and Tyre Nichols (right) separated by more than 30 years (Memphis Police Department)

Yet, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said the video of her officers, was perhaps worse.

In an an interview with CNN before the video was made public, she was asked if it was her assessment the footage was worse than that three decades ago.

“That is my assessment,” she said.

“I was in law enforcement during the Rodney King incident and it’s — you know, very much aligned with that same type of behaviour,” she told CNN’s Don Lemon. “I would say it is about the same if not worse.”

King was beaten by a group of Los Angeles Police Department officers in 1991 in an attack that was captured on civilian video.

The four officers were later cleared by predominantly white jury, something that a triggered the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

King survived the beating and later became an advocate for peace, famously saying during the riots “can we all get along”.

He died in 2012 aged 47.