Memphis Police Officers Fired and DOJ Investigating After Death of Tyre Nichols
On Friday, five Memphis Police officers were fired for their involvement in the death of Tyre Nichols, an African-American father and amateur photographer. This comes as the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the FBI investigate the circumstances of the traffic stop and death of Nichols.
The officers were terminated due to their violation of department policies, including excessive use of force and failure to render aid.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI Memphis office have announced a civil rights investigation into Nichols’ death is now underway. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident that resulted in Nichols’ death, and the Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into his death.
On Jan. 7, Memphis police officers pulled over Nichols, who had no criminal record, around 8:30 p.m. for a traffic violation. Following two “clashes” as reported by law enforcement, Nichols was apprehended, with him complaining of difficulty in breathing. On Jan. 10, he was taken to a hospital where he sadly passed away The cause of death has not been revealed by officials, however, Nichols' family indicated he experienced cardiac arrest and kidney failure.
Two Memphis Fire personnel were relieved of duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation in connection to Nichols’ death. After the completion of the internal investigation by the police department and after the family has been given the opportunity to view the recordings, city officials announced on Tuesday that the video captured by the officers' body-worn cameras will be made available to the public.
Investigation results, as stated by Chief Davis, showed that the officers had contravened various department rules, e.g. utilizing excessive force, failing to intervene, and refusing to help. Antonio Romanucci, an attorney, provided a vivid description of a chaotic event Romanucci stated that the man was a “human piñata” for the police officers. The young boy was subjected to an unmitigated and unashamed thrashing without pause for three minutes.
U.S. Attorney Kevin Ritz said in a Department of Justice news release, “Last week, Tyre Nichols tragically died, a few days after he was involved in an incident where Memphis Police Department officers used force during his arrest.”
Ben Crump, an attorney, noted that the video was reminiscent of the widely-known footage from 1991 of Los Angeles police officers striking Rodney King. The amount of force used by a police officer is not determined by their race.
0. “Video Shows Memphis Cops Brutally Beat Tyre Nichols “Like a Human Piñata”” Democracy Now!, 24 Jan. 2023, https://www.democracynow.org/2023/1/24/headlines/video_shows_memphis_cops_brutally_beat_tyre_nichols_like_a_human_pinata
1. “Family, lawyers speak after seeing footage from Tyre Nichols arrest” Commercial Appeal, 23 Jan. 2023, https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2023/01/23/family-lawyers-speak-after-seeing-footage-from-tyre-nichols-arrest/69831904007/
2. “New Photograph Shows Serious Injuries On Memphis Man Who Died In Police Custody” HuffPost, 18 Jan. 2023, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tyre-nichols-memphis-police-arrest-fatal_n_63c72036e4b07c0c7df88e8a
3. “Tyre Nichols’ family, attorneys see ‘appalling’ arrest video, ask for justice” WKRN News 2, 23 Jan. 2023, https://www.wkrn.com/news/tennessee-news/tyre-nichols-family-to-speak-after-seeing-video/
4. “Tyre Nichols Remembered as a ‘Beautiful Soul;' City Offers Public Release of Video Footage” WKNO FM, 18 Jan. 2023, https://www.wknofm.org/news/2023-01-17/tyre-nichols-remembered-as-a-beautiful-soul-city-offers-public-release-of-video-footage
5. “5 Memphis officers fired after death of man who was hospitalized after his arrest” WTVA, 21 Jan. 2023, https://www.wtva.com/news/5-memphis-officers-fired-after-death-of-man-who-was-hospitalized-after-his-arrest/article_7055ea17-de0e-532d-99c7-ed861c96e040.html
6. “Tyre Nichols was ‘defenseless' in incident with Memphis police, attorneys say” NPR, 23 Jan. 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/01/23/1150767524/tyre-nichols-family-will-view-unreleased-video-footage-related-to-his-death
7. “Tyre Nichols death: Five Memphis police officers fired after arrest” The Washington Post, 21 Jan. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/01/20/tyre-nichols-memphis-police-fired
8. “Tyre Nichols case renews discussion about police brutality” WREG NewsChannel 3, 24 Jan. 2023, https://wreg.com/news/local/tyre-nichols-case-renews-discussion-about-police-brutality/