Tyre Nichols: What Happened Leading Up To His Death At The Hands Of Memphis Police?

A traffic stop that occurred earlier in January led to the violent arrest and untimely death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols.

The incident has made international news as the five Black police officers involved in the traffic stop were fired and now face criminal charges of second-degree murder.

According to multiple news outlets, Nichols, who worked second shift at FedEx, was driving to his mother’s home in Memphis around 8:30 p.m. for his meal break when he was pulled over for suspected reckless driving.

A statement from Memphis Police said that “a confrontation occurred” between Nichols and police officers, ABC 24 reported. His apprehension allegedly resulted in “another confrontation” taking place.

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy later said that pepper spray was deployed on Nichols, according to Reuters.

He sustained a severe beating from five officers, which eventually resulted in his death.

Nichols died due to injuries sustained in the “use-of-force incident with officers,” the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation stated, according to CNN.

The outlet reported that Nichols was hospitalized for his injuries and later died on Jan. 10 after having suffered “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating,” according to an autopsy’s preliminary results.

“We can state that preliminary findings indicate Tyre suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating, and that his observed injuries are consistent with what the family and attorneys witnessed on the video of his fatal encounter with police on January 7, 2023,” attorney Benjamin Crump said in a statement.

The five officers involved are now facing murder charges.

Following the incident, officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — who are also Black — were terminated for failing in their “excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid,” the Memphis Police Department stated, according to CNN.

All five men have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two charges of aggravated kidnapping, two charges of official misconduct and one charge of official oppression.

CNN reports that two Memphis Fire Department employees who were part of Nichols’ “initial patient care” were also “relieved of duty.”

On the pending release of the bodycam footage, Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said, “You’re going to see acts that defy humanity, you’re going to see a disregard for life, duty of care that we’re all sworn to,” according to CNN.

Davis also said authorities are unsure why Nichols was pulled over or what the probable cause was.

“We’ve taken a pretty extensive look to determine what the probable cause was and we have not been able to substantiate that,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that something didn’t happen, but there is no proof.”

Earlier this week, Nichols’ family and attorneys watched the footage of the incident, which attorney Crump described as “heinous,” CNN reported.

In it, Nichols was tased, pepper-sprayed, and restrained, Crump said, according to CNN. He even compared the footage to the Los Angeles Police beating of Rodney King in 1991.

At the end of the video, you can hear Nichols asking, “What did I do?” and calling his mother’s name three times, Crump said.

The bodycam footage will be released sometime Friday evening.

Police in Memphis and across the country have been preparing for possible protests, and people have been reacting online.