On January 7, 29-year-old Tyre Nichols was pulled over by five Memphis police officers for alleged reckless driving. A ‘confrontation’ ensued as the police officers were approaching the vehicle, which resulted in Nichols making a run for it. The police officers followed and another ‘confrontation’ occurred.
During the ‘confrontation,’ the five police officers violently, heinously, and inhumanely beat the suspect for several minutes. At that point, he was bleeding excessively and having difficulty breathing. Nichols spent the next few days in the hospital, where he eventually succumbed to his injuries. He died on January 10.
Last week, the five officers – Emmit Martin, Desmond Mills, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, and Justin Smith – were relieved of their duties, along with two Memphis firefighters who were involved in Nichols’ care. Since then, the Memphis community has impatiently awaited their criminal punishment.
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On January 26, that process began when Martin, Mills, Bean, Haley, and Smith were arrested for their role in Nichols’ death. All five of the officers were charged with second-degree murder, official misconduct, aggravated kidnapping, official oppression, and acting in concert to commit aggravated assault.
According to jail records, two of the officers – Haley and Martin – had their bond set at $350,000, while the other three officers – Mills, Bean, and Smith – had their bond set at $250,000. Not only that, but Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy stated that video of the beating will be released on Jan. 27.
On January 25, Police Chief Cerelyn J. Davis commented on the arrest of the five police officers – saying they were “found to be directly responsible for the physical abuse.” She also called the incident ‘heinous, reckless and inhuman,’ as well as ‘a failing of basic humanity toward another individual.’
“I am not wavering in my commitment to you to have a police force that is here to serve and protect you. Those five officers and others failed our community and they failed the Nichols family, and that is beyond regrettable,” the police chief continued. The Memphis community now awaits a trial and conviction.
Tyre Nichols’ Family Shares a Statement Following the Arrests
After news broke of the five officers’ arrests, Tyre Nichols’ family – along with attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci – released a statement that called the incident ‘needless and unnecessary.’ They expressed how much the family’s lives have changed in his absence and will continue saying his name.
“The news today from Memphis officials that these five officers are being held criminally accountable for their deadly and brutal actions gives us hope as we continue to push for justice for Tyre,” the statement read. Tyre Nichols had a 4-year-old son and was always trying to be the best father possible for him.
“This young man lost his life in a particularly disgusting manner that points to the desperate need for change and reform to ensure this violence stops occurring during low-threat procedures, like in this case, a traffic stop,” the family’s statement concluded. The upcoming video will show just how violent it was.
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A statement was also released by Van Turner, the President of NAACP’s Memphis branch. “It’s devastating that these are five African American officers and obviously Tyre Nichols was an African American man, but it doesn’t matter who’s behind that badge,” adding that ‘wrong is wrong.’
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