Rodney King's daughter still 'numb' after watching Tyre Nichols video

Lora King says she was sickened by what she saw.

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Lora King

Lora King watched the video showing the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols by police in Memphis shortly after it was released on Friday.

And King, whose father, Rodney, was beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers during a 1991 traffic stop, says she was sickened by what she saw.

“I still don't feel well,” Lora King said in an interview with CNN on Monday. “I don't wish that upon an animal, let alone any human being.

“If you’re human, you should feel the same way,” she continued. “I don’t know how everybody is not OK with this.”

Lora King, who was just 7 years old when her father was assaulted, told reporters on Saturday that she felt “numb” watching the video.

“I’m sick,” she told CNN. “I don’t know how to feel.”

The shocking video that captured several Memphis police officers brutally assaulting Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, quickly drew comparisons to the infamous footage of LAPD officers beating Rodney King, a 25-year-old Black man, in 1991.

While five Black Memphis officers have been indicted for beating Nichols, three of the four officers charged in King’s beating were white. King survived his ordeal, and four officers were acquitted of assaulting him, verdicts that resulted in days of rioting.

Rodney King, center
Rodney King at a news conference in May 1992. (David Longstreath/AP)

“That was a watershed moment for America,” Ben Crump, the noted civil rights attorney representing the Nichols family, said Sunday. “And I believe this video is a watershed moment for America. The only question that remains is, how much progress have we made?”

On Friday night, Memphis authorities released 67 minutes of surveillance and police body camera footage showing the chaotic Jan. 7 encounter in which the five officers chase Nichols, punch him, spray him with pepper spray and continue both physical and verbal abuse as he grows increasingly helpless.

Nichols — a FedEx driver, avid skateboarder and father of a 4-year-old son — died in a hospital three days later.

The five officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — were fired on Jan. 20 and charged Thursday with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.

A sixth officer involved in Nichols’s arrest, Preston Hemphill, has been relieved of duty, Memphis ABC affiliate WATN reported Monday.

Memphis Police Department officers stand near Tyre Nichols on Jan. 7 in this still image from video released by the Memphis Police Department.
Memphis police officers stand near Tyre Nichols on Jan. 7 in this image from video released by the Memphis Police Department. (Handout via Reuters)

President Biden said Friday that he would renew his call for Congress to pass legislation that stalled following the death of George Floyd in 2020.

“I spoke with Tyre’s mother and expressed my condolences, and told her that I was going to be making the case to the Congress to pass the George Floyd Act,” Biden told reporters. “We should get this under control.”

Lora King, an activist who serves as the president and CEO of her late father’s foundation, said she is “very hopeful” that the Nichols video will lead to meaningful police reforms.

“That makes me very hopeful,” she said. “That gives me like light at the end of the tunnel, but let’s push it through. Let’s do it. You know, let’s take it serious. Let’s make it urgent, because we all witnessed this. It seems like it’s getting worse and worse.”