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The Minnesota Timberwolves are bolstering security for their Friday night 7:30 p.m. ET tipoff against the Memphis Grizzlies, with the graphic video of five Memphis police officers beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols scheduled to be released around 7 p.m. ET.
National protests are expected after the footage is made public, with both Nichols’ family and law enforcement urging citizens to protest peacefully.
The Timberwolves issued a statement ahead of Friday night’s NBA contest against Memphis:
“We are working closely with Commissioner Dr. Cedric Alexander, the Office of Community Safety, and the NBA,” the statement read. “Through this joint effort, we are confident that Target Center will be a safe venue for our fans and players.”
Five fired Memphis police officers were charged Thursday with murder and other crimes in the killing of Nichols, a Black motorist and FedEx worker who died three days after a confrontation with the officers during a traffic stop.
The officers, who are all Black, each face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
Earlier this week, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said she expects a strong reaction when the body cam footage is released.
“This incident was heinous, reckless, and inhumane, and in the vein of transparency when the video is released in the coming days, you will see this for yourselves,” Davis said in a statement released late on Wednesday.
“I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels, I expect you to feel outrage in the disregard of basic human rights, as our police offers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video.”