"My son didn't do no drug[s], didn't carry no guns, he didn't like confrontation, none of that, that's why this is so hard," the grieving mom said.
Trigger Warning: The following article mentions police violence which some readers may find distressing.
On January 7, Tyre Nichols, 29, was beaten by Memphis police officers for three minutes after he was stopped by them for reckless driving. According to the New York Times, this escalated into a violent confrontation, which led to Nicholas being hospitalized. He died three days later. Now, his family, their lawyers, and activists are seeking answers.
Tyre Nichols was violently beaten by Memphis Police (TN) after a simple traffic stop — he would die 3 days later. This beloved member of his community was brutalized to the point of being beyond recognition — we MUST put an end to Black men falling victim to police brutality! pic.twitter.com/2MUlpCECTM— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) January 24, 2023
In an initial statement, Memphis police said a "confrontation occurred" as officers tried to approach Nichols' vehicle on the evening of January 7, and he reportedly fled on foot.
The police added, there was then “another confrontation” as officers arrested him, per the statement. “He was a human piñata for those police officers,” co-counsel, Antonio Romanucci, said standing with Nichols’s mother, Ravaughn Wells. “Not only was it violent, it was savage,” he added. Nichols was 6'3" and about 140 pounds, according to his family's lawyers, as per PEOPLE.
'We just want justice' — 5 Memphis PD officers were terminated following the death of Tyre Nichols. Here’s the latest. pic.twitter.com/Z839hMOLJz— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 25, 2023
Nichols “suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating,” according to an independent autopsy report, whose findings were released by his family’s lawyers, per CNN. Nichols' family recently viewed the camera footage of his arrest for the first time. They allege that the clip shows officers savagely beating, restraining, and tasing him.
At a press conference at Mt. Olive Cathedral CME Church in Memphis, the driver's stepfather said, "Our son ran because he was scared for his life." He added, "I don't care what color—black, white, pink, purple, should [never] go through this."
I ran up on Mayor Jim Strickland at City Hall today to ask about why the city is taking so long to release the body cam footage and the names of the police officers who murdered Tyre Nichols.#JusticeForTyreNichols (1/2) pic.twitter.com/mWg2GVj2ZU— Amber Sherman (@AmberSherman_) January 16, 2023
Nichols' mother said at the conference. "My son didn't do no drug[s], didn't carry no guns, he didn't like confrontation, none of that, that's why this is so hard." She also described her son as "damn near" perfect, calling him a "beautiful soul" who had her name tattooed on his arm. The family also said he loved photography, skateboarding, and computers, per CNN.
Tyre Nichols’ parents shouldn’t have to endure this nightmare — their son should still be with them, enjoying life with his 4-yo son. Five @MEM_PoliceDept officers robbed his family and community by taking Tyre from them. Accountability and justice are the only way forward! pic.twitter.com/jWe3E8nM1S— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) January 24, 2023
The family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, said the footage of the arrest, which has not been publicly released as of yet, "reminded us of the [1991 LAPD] Rodney King video," calling it "deplorable" and "heinous, violent … troublesome on every level." Co-counsel Romanucci described the video's contents as "an unadulterated, unabashed nonstop beating of this young boy for three minutes. Crump also added that Nichols called out for his mother at least 3 times during the three-minute incident.
Can’t think of the last time I heard about five cops immediately being fired after a police murder. Horrified to think what they did to Tyre Nichols. https://t.co/7pAiOVQf4c— Read Jackson Rising by @CooperationJXN (@JoshuaPHilll) January 21, 2023
The five officers involved in Nichols' arrest, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith have been terminated from their duties in the aftermath of the incident. Speaking about the decision to terminate them, Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said in a statement, "After a thorough review of the circumstances … we have determined that five Memphis Police Department officers violated multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid."
This is Tyre Nichols — a 29yo Black man who died last week, days after a brutal traffic stop with @MEM_PoliceDept.— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) January 17, 2023
Tyre's family described an avid skateboarder who brought joy to all, someone “you know when he comes through the door he wants to give you a hug.” pic.twitter.com/pA79GGQuBz
Davis added the department is working with the district attorney's office and will eventually release the video of the traffic stop to the public.
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