Five Memphis Police Officers Indicted for Death of Tyre Nichols
On January 27, 2023, five former Memphis Police officers were indicted by a grand jury and taken into custody. The five officers, who are all Black, are Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III, and Desmond Mills Jr. They were fired on January 20 after an internal investigation found them to be “directly responsible” for the beating that led to the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols. Each officer is charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two charges of aggravated kidnapping, two charges of official misconduct, and one charge of official oppression.
The City of Memphis is anticipated to make available footage from the traffic stop at 6 p.m. (CT) Friday. David Rausch, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said during a news conference that the incident does “not at all reflect proper policing. This was wrong. This was criminal.”
According to police, officers pulled Nichols over around 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 for a traffic violation. Following two clashes, as described by the police, Nichols was taken into custody and stated that he was having difficulty breathing. The family of Tyre Nichols, friends, mourners and skateboarders gathered in the Tobey Skatepark for a vigil on Jan. 26, 2023.
Cerelyn “C.J.” is the Chief of Davis revealed that an unspecified amount of other officers are being investigated for breaking department regulations. She also said that an independent investigation will take place to look into MPD's specialized units. The FBI is also conducting an investigation into potential civil rights violations.
The incident video footage will be available after 6 p.m. Friday CT. Family members have already seen the video and attorneys described it as “heinous” and likened it to the Los Angeles Police beating of Rodney King in 1991.
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents the family of Nichols, stated that based on their own autopsy, there is evidence of “extensive bleeding due to a severe beating.” Chief Cerelyn J. Davis of the Memphis Police Department described the video as “heinous, reckless, and inhumane.”
The death of Tyre Nichols has led to the firing, arrests and indictments of five Memphis Police Officers, and an investigation into other potential policy violations.
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1. “Tyre Nichols bodycam release triggers pleas for peace” NewsNation Now, 27 Jan. 2023, https://www.newsnationnow.com/crime/tyre-nicholos-bodycam-calls-for-peace/
2. “Tyre Nichols was killed due to a traffic stop. Too many Black Americans are.” Vox.com, 27 Jan. 2023, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/23574206/tyre-nichols-traffic-stop-deaths-footage
3. “Why the DOJ's early response to Tyre Nichols' murder matters” MSNBC, 27 Jan. 2023, https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-opinion/wait-tyre-nichols-body-cam-video-dojs-promises-matter-rcna67715
4. “LIVE NOW: Protest Planned in Dallas Amid Release of Tyre Nichols Assault Video” NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth, 27 Jan. 2023, https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/live-video-next-generation-plans-protest-in-dallas-amid-release-of-tyre-nichols-assault-video/3180430/
5. “Tyre Nichols video worse than Rodney King footage, Memphis police chief says” The Guardian US, 27 Jan. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jan/27/tyre-nichols-death-memphis-video-police-rodney-king
6. “Tyre Nichols video to be released after 6 p.m. Friday” Commercial Appeal, 26 Jan. 2023, https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/local/2023/01/26/tyre-nichols-video-to-be-released-after-6-p-m-friday/69844967007/
7. “At a somber vigil for Tyre Nichols, anger is directed toward change” The Daily Memphian, 27 Jan. 2023, https://dailymemphian.com/article/33768
8. “Tyre Nichols: President Biden, Steve Cohen on officers' indictments” Commercial Appeal, 26 Jan. 2023, https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/local/2023/01/26/reaction-to-the-indictments-of-mpd-officers-involved-in-tyre-nichols-traffic-stop/69844747007/
9. “What we know — and still don't know — about what led to Tyre Nichols' death” CNN, 27 Jan. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/26/us/what-we-know-tyre-nichols-death/index.html
10. “Memphis braces for Tyre Nichols video, which is expected to be released Friday evening” The Hill, 26 Jan. 2023, https://thehill.com/homenews/3831775-memphis-braces-for-release-of-video-footage-in-tyre-nichols-beating/