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Five Memphis ex-police officers charged with murder of Tyre Nichols | First Thing

By Nicola Slawson,


Good morning.

Five former Memphis police officers have been charged with the murder of Tyre Nichols, a Black motorist in Memphis, Tennessee, who died three days after a 7 January traffic stop spiraled into violence.

Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr, Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith are charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression, local jail records indicate .

“While each of the five individuals played a different role in the incident in question, the actions of all of them resulted in the death of Tyre Nichols and they are all responsible,” said Steve Mulroy, the Shelby county district attorney, during a press conference yesterday.

David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee bureau of investigation, said: “Let me be clear: what happened here does not, at all, reflect proper policing. This was wrong. This was a crime.”

  • How did Nichols die? In a three-minute attack, Mulroy said. An independent autopsy indicated “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating”, an attorney representing his family reportedly said . “He was a human piñata for those police officers,” the family attorney, Antonio Romanucci, told reporters. “Not only was it violent, it was savage.”

  • When will the video footage be released? Memphis authorities said they would release video of the incident. Family members and their attorneys have already seen it. During the press conference yesterday, officials indicated that the footage would be released after 6pm local time today.

Concerns over escalating violence after Israeli forces kill nine Palestinians during West Bank raid
Palestinians inspect damage caused by the Israeli military during the storming of the city of Jenin in the West Bank. Photograph: Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA Images/Rex/Shutterstock

Washington has raised concern over the escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence after Israeli forces yesterday killed nine Palestinians during a West Bank raid, in the deadliest single day in the territory in decades.

The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said he feared the security situation could worsen after two rockets were fired from Gaza early on Friday and Israel responded with airstrikes on the territory.

The top US diplomat is due to travel to the Middle East on Sunday to discuss the situation, with visits planned to Egypt, Israel and the West Bank. The trip was announced hours after Israeli commandos killed seven gunmen and two civilians in the occupied West Bank.

A 61-year-old woman and a male civilian were among the dead, the Palestinian health ministry said, and about 20 more people were seriously injured. Two of the casualties were claimed by the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another four by Hamas and one by the armed wing of the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction.

  • What happened? Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers arrived at daybreak yesterday at several entrances to the Jenin refugee camp, a militant stronghold in the north of the Palestinian territory, said Sakir Khader, a Palestinian-Dutch film-maker at the scene. Armed Palestinians shot at an Israeli armoured vehicle disguised as a commercial van, at which point the IDF returned fire and a fierce four-hour gun battle ensued, causing widespread damage, he said.

US National Archives asks ex-presidents to check for classified papers
More than 11,000 documents, including about 300 marked classified or top secret, in almost 50 boxes also containing photographs were found in Trump’s possession. Photograph: Jon Elswick/AP

The US National Archives has asked representatives for former presidents and vice-presidents to review their personal records for any classified-marked documents in their possession after a series of such discoveries at the homes of Joe Biden, Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

The archives sent letters to the presidents and vice-presidents in the previous six administrations that are covered under the Presidential Records Act, which requires materials from their time in the White House to be turned over to the agency when they leave office.

“We request that you conduct an assessment of any materials held outside of Nara [National Archives and Records Administration] to determine whether bodies of materials previously assumed to be personal in nature might inadvertently contain presidential or vice-presidential records,” the letters said.

The requests are understood to have gone to representatives of former presidents including Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton, as well as the former vice-presidents Dick Cheney, Al Gore and Dan Quayle, according to a source familiar with the matter. The archives did not respond to a request for comment.

  • Will the discovery at Biden’s house come back to bite him? Biden’s approval ratings have dipped in recent weeks, hovering near the lowest levels of his presidency, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll. A new ABC News/Ipsos survey found that strong majorities of Americans disapproved of the way Biden and Trump handled classified materials.

In other news …
Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for further sanctions on Russia and for allies to supply Ukraine with more weapons. Photograph: Sky News
  • In his nightly address after deadly missile strikes across Ukraine yesterday, Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for further sanctions on Russia and for allies to supply Ukraine with more weapons. Ukrainian civilians raced for cover on Thursday as Russia fired a barrage of missiles and drones across the country, killing at least 11 people

  • California attorney regulators said they would seek to disbar the attorney John Eastman over his involvement in Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election result. The state bar of California charged Eastman, a former personal lawyer to Trump, with 11 counts of ethics violations.

  • Uber and Lyft vehicles in New York City will be required to be zero-emission by 2030, it was announced yesterday. Uber and Lyft issued statements indicating support for the coming change.

  • A class action suit has been brought on behalf of the 185 male prisoners on death row in Texas, accusing the state of violating the inmates’ constitutional rights by holding them in permanent solitary confinement , in some cases for more than 20 years.

Don’t miss this: Why accusing Harry Styles and Cardi B of queerbaiting is regressive
Kit Connor and Joe Locke in Netflix’s Heartstopper. Photograph: Alamy

In November, after weeks of comments on social media targeting Kit Connor over his playing a queer character in Netflix’s LGBTQ+ coming-of-age drama Heartstopper, the actor tweeted a short, exasperated response: “I’m bi,” he wrote. “Congrats for forcing an 18-year-old to out himself. I think some of you missed the point of the show.” Connor’s statement sparked another reckoning over the idea of queerbaiting , a term that has been in use since the early 2000s. Changing social media and celebrity culture has fueled a renewed interest in the concept, which originated as a criticism of books and films that hinted at a character’s queerness without explicitly confirming it. Over the past few years, a number of celebrities have been deemed queerbaiters, including Harry Styles, Cardi B, Bad Bunny and Billie Eilish.

Climate check: Human activity and drought ‘degrading more than a third of Amazon rainforest’
The Amazon rainforest is drier, more flammable and more vulnerable, prompting the authors to warn of future ‘megafires’. Photograph: Brazil Photos/LightRocket/Getty Images

Human activity and drought may have degraded more than a third of the Amazon rainforest , double the previous estimate, according to a study that heightens concerns that the globally important ecosystem is slipping towards a point of no return. Fires, land conversion, logging and water shortages have weakened the resilience of up to 2.5m sq km of the forest, an area 10 times the size of the UK. Between 5.5% and 38% of what is left of the world’s biggest tropical forest is less able to regulate the climate, generate rainfall, store carbon, provide a habitat to other species, offer a livelihood to local people, and sustain itself as a viable ecosystem, the paper observes.

Last Thing: World’s oldest person on the keys to longevity – ‘stay away from toxic people’
María Branyas Morera, born in 1907, is now in the Guinness record books after death of Lucille Randon, 118, in French town of Toulon. Photograph: Guinness World Records

María Branyas Morera has lived through two world wars, the Spanish civil war, the 1918 flu pandemic and Covid. Now the California-born woman is the world’s oldest living person. Branyas, 115, became the oldest known person alive after the death of 118-year-old Lucille Randon, the Guinness World Records website confirmed last week. “Order, tranquility, good connection with family and friends, contact with nature, emotional stability, no worries, no regrets, lots of positivity and staying away from toxic people” is what Branyas credits with her longevity, according to the Guinness site. “I think longevity is also about being lucky. Luck and good genetics.”

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