(NewsNation) — The attorney for Tyre Nichols’ family said Friday they want a deeper criminal investigation into Nichols’ death that should go well beyond the five arrested officers who were recorded beating him.
“We do not want this investigation stopped just at the five,” Antonio Romanucci told NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield on Friday. “We think there is much more going on underneath here.”
Memphis authorities on Friday released footage showing five officers beating Nichols, who later died. Romanucci later that night said the Nichols family wanted the world to see that video, called the SCORPION police unit the five officers worked under “100% corrupted,” and said criminal charges should include those who did nothing to try and help Nichols as he lay injured.
“You only showed part of the video. There’s 20 more minutes where he is laying on the ground, waiting for an ambulance, waiting for an EMT while there are firefighters there who aren’t performing first-responding services. There are deputy sheriffs who are there who aren’t intervening, not rendering aide,” Romanucci said.
“Who knows whether or not there were chances to keep him alive longer than he was, or actually save him,” he said. “Those are all questions that need to be asked.”
Romanucci said the family has met and had a “very productive conversation” with local authorities, the Justice Department and the FBI about additional charges beyond the five officers.
Soon after the video was released, Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner announced that two deputies who appeared on the scene after the beating have been relieved of duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
The Nichols’ family attorney also criticized the SCORPION unit. The two-year-old specialized gang unit, with an acronym that stands for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods, was designed to patrol high-crime areas in the city. The officers who are on tape beating Nichols were part of that unit.
“There is no reason that the SCORPION unit should continue to exist in any form whatsoever,” Romanucci said. “How is it that now this unit, which in my opinion after seeing that video is 100% corrupted, in the sense that we don’t know how many other incidents there have been, clearly not as serious or as grave as Tyre’s, but that were never reported or were justified in different ways so that innocent people were arrested or put in jail.”
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis described the officers’ actions as “heinous, reckless and inhumane,” and said Friday that her department has been unable to substantiate the reckless driving allegation that prompted the stop.