Police prepare for protests in Los Angeles County over video of Memphis police beating

LOS ANGELES, CA – With body camera footage released Friday afternoon showing the fatal police beating of a man in Memphis, Tennessee, Angelenos and the Los Angeles police braced for a night of potential protests.

“The Los Angeles Police Department is closely monitoring the impending release of the body-wearing video and other relevant videos involving the inexcusable death of Tire Nichols, at the hands of former Memphis police officers. We have not identified any threats specific and credible form of related violence”. to this incident and (are) encouraged by calls from various community and religious leaders for unity and for peaceful demonstrations and protests,” the department said in a statement Friday.

The department had not declared a tactical alert, although the nearby Long Beach Police Department did declare a preemptive “Stage 2 Tactical Alert,” meaning the department prepared additional officers to patrol.

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The Memphis Police Department released the videos on Friday. Nichols, 29, died on January 10, three days after he was beaten by police after a traffic stop. Five black police officers allegedly involved in the standoff and the beating of Nichols were fired last week, and all were charged this week with second-degree murder and other crimes.

Videos from the scene show officers threatening to electrocute him even as he tries to comply with their orders to drop to the ground after a traffic stop. He over and over he says, “Okay, okay, okay. I’m just trying to get home.” Video shows officers pinning Nichols to the ground as another officer repeatedly kicks him in the head.

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Demonstrations were already scheduled in Los Angeles throughout the week, including a planned vigil outside the LAPD headquarters at 100 Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles. Demonstrations were also scheduled throughout the day Saturday by local activist groups.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also said it is monitoring the protests and working in conjunction with other area law enforcement agencies.

“The sheriff’s department is in ongoing contact with our local, state and federal partners regarding ongoing events in their jurisdictions,” according to a department statement. “The department has also engaged in community outreach efforts that include valuable dialogue with civic leaders throughout the week and will continue to do so. Our patrol stations and specialized units remain ready to respond to any disturbances that may occur.

Some neighborhood councils in the city of Los Angeles received messages from the LAPD this week saying that police are aware of the pending release of the video and the possibility of protests, noting that the department is prepared to respond and facilitate peaceful demonstrations. The messages noted that there were no known “threats or protests” in the city before the video was released.

“We have a precedent that has been set here in Memphis and we intend to uphold this plan for the entire United States from this day forward,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump said at a news conference Friday. Crump represents the Nichols family.

The City News Service contributed to this report.

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