As Tyre Nichols’ family waits for arrest footage, former police chief stresses patience

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police body cam footage still hasn’t been released since the death of Tyre Nichols, who died three days after “confrontations” with Memphis Police on Jan. 7.

A man arrested over the weekend after a traffic stop on Jan. 7, 2023, in Memphis has died, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

City leaders said it should be released next week.

But that’s left many asking: Why next week and not now?

RELATED: Tyre Nichols’ death: Body cam video will soon be released, officials say

RELATED: TBI investigating ‘use of force’ during MPD traffic stop that sent driver to hospital

RELATED: Shelby Co. DA Steve Mulroy weighs in on Tyre Nichols’ death investigation

“Do you want to be the police chief who made bad choices because you were in a hurry, as opposed to making right choices because you took your time?” said Ronal Serpas, a former Nashville police chief who has held other top law enforcement positions.

He added: ”In these cases, that are of significant consequence, there’s often so much information flying around that you have to make sure you get it right, if you hope to have the best outcome in court.”

In addition to being a member of the Council on Criminal Justice, Serpas is a professor of criminology at Loyola University of New Orleans.

RELATED: Federal civil rights investigation opened into Tyre Nichols’ death

As family and friends of Nichols and the Memphis community call for the release of police body cam footage, Serpas said the release of evidence varies from state to state and whether the case may be taken to trial.

”It’s in the big city where there is tension,” he said. “And in many big cities, you will see a policy that after so many days, the police department will release the video.”

For example, Chicago Police policy say footage must be released to the public within 60 calendar days unless a request is made to delay the release of any or all of the information.

RELATED: Family, friends vow justice during Tyre Nichols’ memorial service

RELATED: Deaths of Tyre Nichols, other Black men in police custody could trigger trauma, advocate says

Memphis has no deadline like that.

”Prosecutors have a duty, as do police to investigate crimes in such a fashion that the constitutional protections of the defendant have been met,” Serpas said.