HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Community leaders in North Alabama are responding to body camera footage that shows five Memphis police officers beating Tyre Nichols — a Black man who later died as a result of those injuries.

Alabama NAACP President Bernard Simelton told News 19 he expects protests but called for calm after what he says is a situation that did not have to happen. 

“We need protests to be peaceful,” Simelton said. “The national NAACP is calling for that and so we are following suit and saying yes if you protest… [do] it peacefully.”

Simelton and local community leaders have viewed the footage of the beating — and responses to the video has flooded social media.

The video is described by the Memphis Police Department (MPD) as a confrontation with officers, Rev. Dexter Strong notes that the ‘confrontation’ left a man dead three days later.  

“It’s convenient to try and constrain this incident into just the five officers involved we know that this is a systemic problem,” said Strong.

Strong says that the comparisons to the assault of the 1991 police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles will begin, but the bodycam footage shows a greater degree of impatience by law enforcement officials.

“We’re asking police to solve social problems that they did not create,” Strong explained. “When we do that, we produce these types of outcomes.” 

Strong says asking protesters for peace in this social environment when the beating ends in death will be difficult. 

“I did hear that young man call out for his mama as he was being beaten, ultimately to death,” he added. “I know that in our country and our society there’s a silent agreement among most Americans that it’s okay for police to behave in this way.” 

Simelton said this is not an issue of a victim being Black but more of a stronger term for justice.  

“Even though it was Black officers and a Black individual, we are glad to see that the city of Memphis and Shelby County in in Tennessee did the right thing,” said Simelton.  

All five officers involved in the incident were terminated by the Memphis Police Department.