Trump says Nichols beating ‘should never have happened’
COLUMBIA, SC (AP) — Former President Donald Trump said on Saturday that footage of the brutal beating of Tire Nichols by five Memphis police officers was “horrific” and that the attack “should never have happened.” .
“I thought it was awful. He was in such a mess. He was just getting beaten up. Now that should never have happened,” Trump said in an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday. , a day after authorities released footage of the attack on the 29-year-old black man after a traffic stop. Nichols died three days later.
The comments were notable for Trump, who is running for the White House again and has a history of encourage abuse of people in custody. He was president during the racial justice protests that erupted in the summer of 2020 following the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. At the time, he signed a decree encouraging better policing practices, but has been criticized by some for failing to recognize what they see as systemic racial bias in policing.
Trump ultimately centered his 2020 re-election bid around a message “law and order” which focused on supporting law enforcement.
The new release Memphis violent video shows the police held down and beat Nichols for three minutes with their fists, boots and batons. Footage shows police shouting profanity at him as Nichols yells for his mother. Trump said Nichols calling his mother was “a very sad moment.”
“That’s really the point that appealed to me the most, to be honest with you,” he said.
Trump did not address the video in his campaign speeches in New Hampshire or South Carolina, the early stages of his 2024 presidential campaign.
The five former Memphis Police Department officers, who are also black, have was fired and charged with murder and other crimes. Nichols’ family’s legal team compared it to the infamous 1991 beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.
Trump said Memphis police were taking a “step forward” by disbanding the police unit involved in the attack, which was created to target violent offenders in high-crime areas.
“Look, the tape might not have been totally conclusive but, to me, it was pretty conclusive and it was vicious and violent and hard to believe – about a traffic violation,” he said. he declares.
The beatings have renewed questions about how fatal encounters with law enforcement continue to happen after repeated calls for change and nationwide scrutiny and scrutiny of police following Floyd’s killing. Trump condemned the killing at the time, but also blasted protests that were largely peaceful, though marred by outbursts of violence.
Trump tweeted about “thugs” during the Minneapolis protests and warned, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter flagged the post as glorifying violence, and Trump attempted to backtrack on the comments.
When several thousand people demonstrated in Lafayette Park across from the White House, US park police forcefully dispersed them with tear gas and flash guns shortly before Trump walked through the park for a photo op near St. John’s Church, where he stood in front of the cameras. holding a Bible.
Price reported from New York.
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