What We Know About Tyre Nichols’s Deadly Encounter With Memphis Police


Tyre Nichols, 29, was crushed by Memphis law enforcement officials for 3 minutes on Jan. 7 after the officers had stopped him for reckless driving, attorneys for his household mentioned on Monday. The cease escalated right into a violent confrontation that ended with Mr. Nichols hospitalized in essential situation. Three days later, he died.

The circumstances of the site visitors cease stay murky, as officers have disclosed little info. However Mr. Nichols’s loss of life has stoked anger and frustration in Memphis as his household, their attorneys and activists search solutions.

Memphis is now ready for the discharge of video footage of the cease, which metropolis officers have vowed to make public. Mr. Nichols’s household and their attorneys watched the video on Monday. In it, they may see that Mr. Nichols, who was Black, had been pepper sprayed, shocked with a stun gun and restrained, Antonio Romanucci, one of many attorneys, instructed reporters after watching the footage.

The police, in an preliminary assertion, mentioned {that a} “confrontation occurred” because the officers, all of whom are additionally Black, approached Mr. Nichols’s car on the night of Jan. 7 and he ran away. There was then “one other confrontation” as officers arrested him, the assertion mentioned.

“He was a human piñata for these law enforcement officials,” Mr. Romanucci mentioned Monday, standing with Mr. Nichols’s mom, RowVaughn Wells. “Not solely was it violent, it was savage.”

State and federal investigations are underway as prosecutors decide whether or not to pursue felony prices towards the officers who have been concerned within the cease. An inner investigation by the Memphis Police Division has already discovered that the officers used extreme power and didn’t intervene or present assist.

On Friday, the division introduced that the 5 officers concerned — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — had been fired. The officers had all joined the division between 2017 and 2020.

“The egregious nature of this incident shouldn’t be a mirrored image of the great work that our officers carry out, with integrity, on daily basis,” Cerelyn Davis, the Memphis police chief, mentioned in an announcement.

The Memphis Police Affiliation, the union representing town’s officers, declined to touch upon the firings. “The residents of Memphis, and, extra importantly, the household of Mr. Nichols should know the entire account of the occasions main as much as his loss of life” and what could have contributed to it, Lt. Essica Cage-Rosario, the union’s president, mentioned in an announcement.

Mr. Nichols’s household is pushing for the officers to be charged with first-degree homicide. “Something in need of that we are going to not settle for,” Rodney Wells, Mr. Nichols’s stepfather, mentioned at a information convention on Monday after watching the movies, which he described as “horrific.”

Mr. Nichols labored the second shift at a FedEx facility, the transport firm that may be a main employer and company presence in Memphis. Each night, round 7 p.m., he would return to his mom’s home for his “lunch” break, in response to his household. He had labored there for roughly 9 months.

He had a 4-year-old son. He went to the identical Starbucks most mornings round 8:30 a.m., his mom mentioned. He typically went to Shelby Farms, a sprawling public park simply outdoors Memphis. He photographed sunsets and skateboarded, a ardour that he’d had since he was 6 — one his stepfather thought he was too outdated for. “You’ve acquired to place that skateboard down,” Mr. Wells remembered telling Mr. Nichols not lengthy earlier than he died. “You’ve acquired a full-time job now.”

His mom mentioned that Mr. Nichols had her title tattooed on his arm. “That made me proud,” she mentioned. “Most children don’t put their mother’s title. My son was a phenomenal soul.”

In keeping with the household’s attorneys, Mr. Nichols instructed the officers in the course of the Jan. 7 occasions that he simply wished to go residence, and in what they believed have been his closing phrases, he referred to as out for his mom. Her residence was about 100 yards from the place he was crushed, the attorneys mentioned.

Metropolis officers have promised transparency, together with the general public launch of the footage of the beating. However the timing for that is still unclear. It may very well be a further week, a minimum of, the household’s attorneys mentioned. Different particulars are additionally unsure, equivalent to how a lot footage is being launched and whether or not it is just from the officers’ physique cameras or consists of different sources.

Mr. Nichols’s household has urged the neighborhood to offer officers time to complete their investigation.

However on Monday, they and their attorneys shared a few of what that they had seen on the video.

“His mom couldn’t get by means of the primary minute of it,” Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer who’s representing the household, mentioned within the information convention. “What we will let you know in regards to the video is that it’s appalling, it’s deplorable, it’s heinous.”

Mr. Crump mentioned Mr. Nichols had pleaded with officers for an evidence of why he had been stopped earlier than issues escalated.

“‘What did I do?’ — that was his query,” Mr. Crump mentioned. “‘What did I do?’”

Jessica Jaglois and Laura Religion Kebede contributed reporting.