Tyre Nichols death: Former Memphis officer criticizes cops, first responders

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A former Memphis police officer is gaining attention online after calling out the cops, paramedics and others who were on the scene of the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols last month, according to WHBQ-TV.

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In a video posted Tuesday on TikTok, Brandon Williams said he served in the Memphis Police Department from 2016 to 2021. He said he had a personal relationship with two of the five officers who were recently fired and charged with murder in Nichols’ death.

“Even though I know two of the five personally, and I patrolled with them personally, I had a relationship with them — this in no way excuses any of their actions … with the Tyre Nichols incident,” he said in the video, which has gotten more than 630,000 views as of Thursday morning.

Williams told WHBQ that officers are trained to operate on the continuum of force, meaning that police are taught to respond with as much force as their facing.

“There is no way, form or fashion that you take a police boot and you strike a man’s face multiple times while he’s on the ground,” he said on TikTok. “No form, no way, no fashion – there is no way that that is excusable. I don’t care who you’re fighting. … That could be lethal, and unless you’re trying to intentionally kill somebody, that is not a tactic that is taught nor should ever be used.”

Video released last week by police showed officers striking Nichols with a baton and punching and kicking him. For more than 20 minutes after the beating, authorities gave Nichols only minimal medical attention, video shows. He was taken to a hospital, where he died three days later. An independent autopsy later found that Nichols died from “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating,” WHBQ reported.

After watching the video, Williams also criticized other people who responded to the scene on Jan. 7, saying that other officers should have stopped the violence and that everyone else who stood there and watched should lose their jobs.

“If you are a police officer … you never, ever, ever let your fellow officer do anything that you wouldn’t let be done to you,” he said. “You are just as guilty as the lynch mobs that used to lynch Black people and watch them die and get lynched even though they never put a hand on them. You are just as guilty.”

Initial reports indicated that officers stopped Nichols on suspicion of reckless driving, though police Chief Cerelyn Davis has said that investigators have been unable to find evidence to substantiate the claim. Videos released last week showed an officer pulling Nichols out of a car as police shouted and cursed at him. He initially tried to comply with police commands though he managed to break free and ran.

“From the get-go you have a man who was not guilty of anything fleeing from the police because he was scared because he doesn’t even know why he’s getting pulled over in such an aggressive manner,” Williams said on TikTok. “As a Black male, I probably would have run too — and I was the police for five years.”

Williams grew up in East Memphis and now lives in Dallas, WHBQ reported. He no longer works as a police officer, the news station reported.

He told WHBQ that the videos released by police were “painful to watch.”

“It was painful to hear, and it was painful because it was the same emotions, as if you already knew the ending of a sad story but you had to put eyes on what happened,” he said.

Nichols, 29, died on Jan. 10. Last week, authorities charged Tadarrius Bean, 24; Demetrius Haley, 30; Emmitt Martin III, 30; Desmond Mills, 32; and Justin Smith, 28; with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and other crimes in connection to his death.

Two other Memphis police officers and two Shelby County sheriff’s deputies have been relieved from duty as authorities investigate the incident. Three Memphis Fire Department employees have also been fired.

In addition to the local investigation, federal and state authorities have also launched probes of the incident.

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