The Memphis Police Department has released video of a traffic stop where five officers are accused of beating Tyre Nichols, leading to his death.
Nichols, 29, died three days after being stopped by the officers close to his home on Jan. 7. The five Black police officers involved in the stop have since been fired by the department. This week, they were charged with murder and other crimes in connection with Nichols’ death.
Friday night, officials in Memphis released redacted video of the violent incident.
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The city of Memphis released the three body camera videos and a view of the street at this link.
Who was Tyre Nichols?
Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, said Tyre came to Memphis from California right before the Covid-19 pandemic and he ended up staying in the city. He had a full-time job with one of Memphis’ largest employers, FedEx, the same place where his stepfather worked.
“Tyre was a good kid,” said Rodney Wells, Tyre’s stepfather. “He was very, very beloved at my job. Everybody there is calling me with blessings, prayers, showing sympathy for what happened.”
Wells said Nichols was an avid skateboarder and that he loved photography, particularly capturing the sunsets around Memphis. Nichols’ photography website says he was an aspiring photographer.
But Wells says Nichols valued his family members. He was the youngest of four children and was very close to his mother, to the point that he had her name tattooed on his arm. His mother said every time Nichols came into her house, he greeted her and her husband with a “Hello, parents.”
“I always joke – because he’ll come in the house and he’ll come in and say ‘hello parents’ – and I’ll never hear that again,” his mother said.
Nichols is expected to be laid to rest on Wednesday, Feb. 1, according to CNN. The Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis is where the funeral is expected to take place at 10:30 a.m. CT, according to a news release obtained by CNN. Rev. Al Sharpton is expected to eulogize Nichols. The service is expected to be live-streamed on the church’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
Who are the suspects?
The five officers were fired and they have been charged with murder among other crimes, but they’ve all been released from jail on bond.
The former officers were identified as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith; authorities said they “violated multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid.”
The officers charged Thursday following Nichols’ death earlier this month face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, official misconduct and official oppression, according to records from Shelby County Jail.
The officers were part of MPD’s SCORPION Unit, which was created in Oct. 2021 with the goal of “addressing violent crimes throughout the city,” officials said. Since Nichols’ death, his family attorney has called on the police department to disband the unit.
“The intent of the SCORPION unit has now been corrupted,” Antonio Romanucci said at a news conference on Friday. “It cannot be brought back to center with any sense of morality and dignity and most importantly trust in this community.”
Federal authorities have launched a federal investigation into whether police violated Nichols’ civil rights during the Jan. 7 encounter. State and local officials are also investigating.
>>The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has guidance for parents to talk to children about traumatic events, with specific advice for different age groups. DHHS recommends providing children with opportunities to talk about what they are seeing on television, and to ask questions. You can find more information at this link.
This is a developing story, and Channel 9 is examining the impacts this case will have on the Charlotte area at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
(WATCH BELOW: Who was Tyre Nichols?)
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