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Tyre Nichols police report at odds with video of brutal traffic stop before his death

It states that he was violent and aggressive but does not mention that Memphis officers repeatedly punched and kicked him.
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A Memphis police report into the traffic stop of Tyre Nichols portrays him as violent and aggressive and states that he tried to grab an officer's gun, allegations that are contradicted by multiple videos released by authorities.

NBC News has obtained the contents of the report, which has not been made public. A Memphis police spokesperson said Wednesday it was unavailable and did not respond to additional questions about it.

A Shelby County spokesperson said that District Attorney Steve Mulroy has a report with the same account of events and that the Memphis Police Department is expected to release the official report within days.

The district attorney’s spokesperson said that there have been questions about other officers on the scene and the potential of false reporting and that the DA is looking into all of these matters.

Nichols, a 29-year-old amateur photographer and skateboarder, died three days after officers brutally beat him during a Jan. 7 traffic stop.

Five fired Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder, and their Scorpion unit has been permanently deactivated. Two other police officers have also been relieved of duty, and the Memphis Fire Department has terminated three EMTs since the assault.

The report does not mention that officers kicked and punched repeatedly, actions that can be seen on video Memphis released last week.

'Tyre Nichols grabbed for Detective Martin's gun'

The police report, which appears to have been written about eight hours after the traffic stop, says Nichols was pulled over for reckless driving.

He was driving fast, and the car was headed into oncoming traffic, the report says. A detective asked Nichols to get out of the vehicle, according to the report, but he was uncooperative.

“Suspect Tyre Nichols was refusing a lawful detention by a law enforcement officers and he started to fight with detectives. Detectives noticed that the suspect Tyre Nichols was sweating profusely and irate when he exited the vehicle," the report said. "Detectives gave verbal commands to stop resisting and then the suspect Tyre Nichols grabbed for Detective Martin’s gun."

The report says an officer sprayed Nichols with an irritant and another officer used a stun gun, which struck Nichols in the torso but had no effect. Nichols pulled the stun gun’s probes out and began running, the report says.

Officers caught up with Nichols, who remained uncooperative and aggressive, the report says.

“He began actively resisting by pulling duty belts and grabbing Officer Smith by his vest. He was given multiple commands to stop resisting, which he ignored," the report said. "Chemical agent was deployed again and it was ineffective. Detective Mills deployed his department issued ASP baton while giving verbal commands to stop resisting striking him several times in the right arm attempting to get the suspect Tyre Nichols to comply.”

The report, which calls Nichols a suspect and Martin, a detective, the victim, lists the offense as aggravated assault.

It does not say officers repeatedly punched and kicked Nichols in his head and face, even though they are seen doing so in video of the traffic stop.

The report is not substantiated by video

Body camera video shows an arriving officer at the traffic stop pointing a gun. Another shouts, “You’re going to get your a-- blown the f--- out.”

Nichols is yanked out of his car by an officer, video shows.

Multiple officers hover around him while he is on the ground, yelling sometimes-contradictory commands.

Nichols tells officers, “I am on the ground!” before he appears to be sprayed with a chemical irritant, the video shows.

Nichols broke free from officers and ran to his mother’s neighborhood. Other body camera videos and a police surveillance camera mounted on a pole show officers caught up to him and then repeatedly punched him and kicked him in the face. He was also struck with a baton.

Videos show Nichols was assaulted about 80 yards from his mother’s home as he yelled for her help.

Personnel suspended, fired, charged

Five police officers were fired Jan. 20 after an administrative investigation found they violated department policy about the use of force. The officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — were hired from 2017 to 2020.

They were charged with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression and one count of aggravated assault.

Attorneys for Mills and Martin have said their clients plan to plead not guilty. 

A representative with the union representing rank-and-file officers, the Memphis Police Association, could not be reached for comment.

Police announced this week two other officers have been relieved of duty. Preston Hemphill, who was at the initial scene and whose body camera video was released publicly, was named as the officer who fired a stun gun. A seventh officer was also relieved of duty. Police have not named that officer.

Hemphill’s attorney, Lee Gerald, confirmed Monday his client was at the traffic stop and had activated his body camera.

He said the officer was never present at the scene where five officers who have been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes were seen beating Nichols.

Three EMTs who responded were fired Monday, the fire department said.

Robert Long, JaMichael Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker were found to have violated multiple department policies and protocols in their patient response, it said in a statement.

Long, Whitaker and Sandridge have not responded to requests for comment.

Two Shelby County sheriff’s deputies were also relieved of duty pending an administrative investigation, Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. announced Friday.