Tyre Nichols: Memphis city councilman opens up about emotional reaction to footage

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Martavius Jones, chairman of the Memphis City Council, joins Yahoo News National Reporter Jayla Whitfield-Anderson to discuss his reaction to the police bodycam footage showing Tyre Nichols’s deadly arrest. Jones tells Yahoo News he broke down on-air during an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon because he has personally experienced frightening encounters with law enforcement.

Video Transcript

MARTAVIUS JONES: I'm-- I'm sorry.

DON LEMON: Don't apologize.

MARTAVIUS JONES: We-- we have to do something.

DON LEMON: Don't apologize for being a human being.

JAYLA WHITFIELD-ANDERSON: I was watching the interview you did with CNN. Can you just describe some of the emotions that you were feeling when you were talking about the video and about what happened to Tyre.

MARTAVIUS JONES: Well, I'm a father. My son is very young, but I'm a father. And I can also recall an encounter that took place probably 35-- 35, 37 years ago with me. I had an incident where I was pulled over, and I was looking down the barrel of a .357 when I'm a teenager. And so things could have very well-- so it was that fact, that I'm a father. I have friends who have sons. And I recall an incident when I was in college.

And so being pulled over under false pretenses by law enforcement could have easily turned sideways-- could have easily gone sideways. So I don't-- there probably aren't any African American peers of mine who has not had an encounter like that for being pulled over for false pretenses, and any of those things could have gone sideways, and there could have been dire consequences for me or people that I know.

JAYLA WHITFIELD-ANDERSON: What's something that you would tell your son? I guess do you give him-- I don't know if he's old enough to have those kind of conversations to give him advice about when he encounters police or anything like that.

MARTAVIUS JONES: He's not yet, but I have very good friends who have teenage sons, who have young-adult sons. And if you look at it from the standpoint-- hey, Mr. Nichols was 29 years old. So you would think that if you look at how-- and we still have limited footage from the standpoint we don't have the body-cam videos of the officers who were already on the scene who were the ones who were extracting Mr. Nichols from the car. We just saw them go straight to 100. It wasn't gradually going from 5, 15, 20, gradually to a hundred. From what we saw, they went straight to a hundred.

So from that standpoint, Mr. Nichols may have-- we just don't know what that interaction was. One of the things as I'm thinking about some of the reforms that I want to see, there should be consequences for interactions with the public where officers fail to turn over their body cam-- you know, suspensions, fines. And then if it's multiple accounts where they do that, then termination.

But just think about the-- and I think about a body-cam video is there to protect the citizens, but it's also there to protect officers. So if we have some of these instances where police officers are being falsely accused of excessive force, if we have that video footage, it protects them as well.