The death of a black man after a traffic stop in the US state of Tennessee has legal consequences for the five ex-cops involved. They were charged with second-degree murder and other felonies, District Attorney Steve Mulroy said at a news conference.

29-year-old Tire Nichols was pulled over by Memphis police on January 7 for “reckless driving.” According to a family lawyer, he was beaten by emergency services for several minutes and later died in hospital. An autopsy report revealed that the 29-year-old suffered profuse bleeding from severe beatings.

US President Joe Biden expressed his condolences to Nichols’ family in a statement. Biden called for peaceful demonstrations. Outrage is understandable, Biden said, but violence is never acceptable. Video material of the crime is to be published on Friday evening (local time). As in the past, demonstrations are expected in similar cases.

Police violence against blacks is not uncommon

The Memphis Police Department fired the five black officers involved in the incident on Wednesday. They said they used excessive force, did not intervene and did not provide assistance. Lawyers for the victim’s family denounced racist crackdowns by US police against black people in the country. President Biden said one cannot ignore the fact that black and brown people are disproportionately affected by fatal encounters with police.

Deadly police violence is a regular occurrence in the United States. Often the victims are black people. In the past, such attacks have repeatedly triggered violent protests across the country.