Demings on Tyre Nichols video: ‘I could not believe what I was seeing’
Former Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) said on Sunday that she “could not believe” what she saw in reaction to the police footage of the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols at the hands of five now former Memphis Police Department (MPD) officers.
During an appearance on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” moderator Margaret Brennan asked Demings, a former police chief for the Orlando Police Department, for her reaction to the Nichols’ video.
“You know, as someone who spent 27 years in law enforcement, started out as an officer on midnight shift patrol and served in every rank served as the chief of police. I’ve seen policing at its best, and I’ve seen it at its worst. But what I saw in the video was shocking and appalling,” Demings told Brennan.
Demings, who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for his Senate seat in last November’s midterm election, also expressed her condolences to the Nichols family on their loss, refrring to remarks Nichols’s mother, RowVaughn Wells, said about the five MPD officers involved with her son’s death.
“My heart goes out to the Wells-Nichols family, it goes out to his community. You know, and I so appreciate the words from Mrs. Wells when she not only talked about the gruesome death of her son, but also spoke to the five officers involved by saying that you disgraced yourselves and your own family,” Demings added. “So as a career law enforcement officer, I could not believe what I was seeing.”
Demings is one of the many prominent figures in the past few days to share their reaction to MPD releasing graphic footage of the Jan. 7 traffic stop of Nichols. President Biden called on Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a police reform bill that has stalled, in response to the police footage.
The five MPD police officers, who are all Black and a part of the department’s SCORPION, (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods) unit, which has since been disbanded, were seen in the footage deploying pepper spray, a stun gun against Nichols and repeatedly punching and kicking him as he was yelling for his mother throughout the duration of the incident.
Nichols, 29, died from the injuries he sustained from the incident three days later. The five police officers, who were fired from the department last week, have been charged with second-degree murder and other offenses in relation to the incident.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.