Tyre Nichols died on Jan. 10 after encountering police officers during a traffic stop on Jan. 7, and details are continuing to surface surrounding the case. Five former Black Memphis police officers were arrested in connection with the death of Nichols and the city is under preparation for protests to erupt ahead of bodycam video footage being released to the public.
Tyre Nichols, 29, was stopped on Jan. 7, according to a report from local outlet ABC 24. Memphis police offered in their statement that they pulled Nichols over for reckless driving and claimed that a confrontation ensued and Nichols bolted away by foot. Memphis police said that another confrontation took place with Nicholas complaining about shortness of breath and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
The family of Nichols says that the officers beat Nichols badly to the point he was no longer recognizable. The family acquired the services of civil rights attorney Ben Crump and shared in a Jan. 23 news conference that the family has viewed the bodycam footage that is soon set to be released.
The five officers, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith, were all fired from their jobs on Jan. 20 for violations of police policies regarding the use of excessive force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid. They were later charged on Jan. 26 with one count of second-degree murder, aggravated assault — acting in concert, and aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct, and one count of official oppression.
The officers were part of an elite 50-member unit known as SCORPION, slated to handle only the most extreme cases, and reportedly drove around in unmarked vehicles. It isn’t known why these SCORPION officers were on this traffic stop detail. Four of the officers are already out on bond. In addition, two employees of the Memphis Fire Department were also terminated in connection to the case.
Memphis police chief Cerelyn Davis shared in a video statement that the actions of the officers were “heinous, reckless, and inhuman.”
That statement can be viewed below.
Nichols worked as a FedEx driver and was the father of a preschool child. According to posts from social media, Nichols was an avid skateboarder and had no record of a violent past. According to Nichols’ mother, he was just two minutes away from his home when he was stopped.
The reactions to the death of Tyre Nichols and the arrest of the officers have been cropping up in number as details emerge. We’ve got those reactions below.
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