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Joe Biden calls parents of Tyre Nichols, black man in US killed by, with footage of fatal beating set to be released
27 January 2023, 17:53 | Updated: 27 January 2023, 21:28
Joe Biden has called the parents of a black American man who was killed by the police, with footage of his fatal beating set to be released on Friday night.
Tyre Nichols, 29, died in hospital days after being pulled over by police for alleged reckless driving, and struggling with five officers in Memphis.
On the call, Mr Nichols' mother told Mr Biden that her son had her name tattooed on his arm, such was his dedication to the family.
The president said: "That's what you call something special." He said how he empathised with their loss, his own son Beau having died too.
It comes as "appalling" footage of police officers beating Mr Nichols is set to be released at about midnight UK time, police have said.
The officers have since lost their jobs and have been charged with his murder.
An official cause of death has not yet been released.
The police chief has warned that people will see for themselves in the video how the officers showed a “disregard for basic human rights”.
The footage has been described as "appalling" and "sickening" by people among the small number who have already seen it.
This includes Mr Nichols' family, their legal team and several officials.
Bodycam video of the arrest is due to be released to the public today from around 18:00 local time (00:00 GMT).
It will be released in four parts.
Antonio Romanucci, a lawyer for the Nichols family, described him as being treated like a "human piñata" in the video, calling the arrest "an unadulterated, unabashed, non-stop beating of this young boy for three minutes".
There is thought to be around an hour of footage, including a few minutes of the father-of-one interacting with the five officers.
The video will include redactions to give anonymity those not employed by the police or the city.
At a press conference, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation director David Rausch said he was "sickened" by what he had seen in the video.
Memphis police chief Cerelyn Davis, the first black woman to hold the role in the city, recalled hearing Mr Nichols "call out for his mother" in the footage.
During a live interview on Friday morning, Ms David said: “I was in law enforcement during the Rodney King incident and it’s very much aligned with that type of behavior … sort of groupthink. I would say it’s about the same if not worse.”
She told CNN: "The disregard for humanity... that's what really pulls at your heartstrings."
Mr Nichols' mother told the outlet she “feels really sorry” for the five officers, who are all black, whom she said beat her son “to a pulp”.
“They have brought shame to their own families. They brought shame to the black community. I just feel sorry for them. I really do,” she said.
“Because they didn’t have to do this. Once you see this video, and I know I didn’t see it, but from what I hear, it’s horrific. And the humanity of it. Where was the humanity? They beat my son like a piñata.”
The five officers are facing the same charges: second degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
They were sacked from their jobs at the Tennessee city's police department last week.
Lawyers for two of the former officers said their clients planned to fight the charges.
A lawyer for one of the men said: "No one out there that night intended for Tyre Nichols to die."
He said he had not been shown the footage.