Graphic videos of five Memphis police officers beating Tyre Nichols to death were released to the public on Friday (January 27). Needless to say, they garnered intense reactions from the rap community and beyond. Questlove, in particular, implored his 2.7 million Instagram followers not to watch it. He explained in the caption: “For The Love Of God. Torture P*rn Is Not Going To Serve Your Soul. #TyreNichols.”
Public Enemy member Flavor Flav, on the other hand, condemned the officers who committed the deplorable killing. While Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith may have been fired and arrested for the crime, they’re already out on bond. They are, however, facing charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault-acting in concert, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
“These 5 f##### up royally,” Flavor Flav wrote. “A####### getting whipped. All fired and going to jail for murder. Sad sad sad situation. My blessings goes out to the Nichols family and friends.”
Former president Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama issued a joint statement on Twitter, calling the killing, “vicious” and “unjustified.”
Nichols was pulled over in his hometown of Memphis on the evening of January 7 for suspected reckless driving. According to CNN, Nichols fled on foot following a “confrontation” with the officers. He was apprehended and promptly arrested following what is being described as “another confrontation.” But, as the video shows, the “confrontation” was a senseless beating that resulted in the Nichols’ death on January 10.
“This young man lost his life in a particularly disgusting manner that points to the desperate need for change and reform to ensure this violence stops occurring during low-threat procedures, like in this case, a traffic stop,” the family’s attorney Ben Crump said in a statement. “This tragedy meets the absolute definition of a needless and unnecessary death.”
The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the matter. A funeral for Nichols is scheduled to take place on February 1. The officers involved in his death will be arraigned on February 17. Find reactions from Obama, Flavor Flav, Questlove, Rah Digga, Mia X, Open Mike Eagle and more below.