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Knowing the details of Tyre Nichols’s encounter with police leads to a better understanding of the situation.

Tyre Nichols
Video footage of Mr. Nichols' family's lawyers claim he was beaten for three minutes by law enforcement personnel. This footage has not been released to the public.

Last week, family members and activists held a rally for Tyre Nichols at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. Mark Weber of Daily Memphian obtained photos from the event and included them in his report for The Associated Press.


Family lawyers who represent Tyre Nichols claim he was beaten by Memphis police officers for 3 minutes on January 7. He was stopped by law enforcement officers after they observed him driving erratically, they said. Nichols slipped into a critical condition and died after being hospitalized for three days.

Although the circumstances of the traffic stop are murky, officials have provided little information about it. Due to this, many people in Memphis are frustrated and angry with the lack of answers related to Mr. Nichols' death. People working toward answers on Mr. Nichols' death have been aided by lawyers and activists — including Mr. Nichols' family — who are seeking answers.

City officials have promised to release video footage of the stop, which Mr. Nichols’s family and lawyers watched Monday. They intended to release the footage as soon as possible. Romanucci, one of the lawyers in the video, reported that Mr. Nichols, the video’s Black subject, was pepper sprayed, stunned with a stun gun and restrained.

A police report indicated that Mr. Nichols ran away from two Black officers who approached his vehicle on January 7. A second confrontation occurred when officers arrested him.

Monday morning, Romanucci and Prenna stood united with Mr. Prenna sharing his perspective on the matter. Both agreed that the officers had acted like human piñatas during their time spent with the suspect. RowVaughn Wells, Nichols' mother, said the attack was savage and violent.

Initial findings released by Nichols' family's lawyers indicated that he sustained significant blood loss due to a severe beating. This information was revealed as outside examinations discovered significant injuries.

What was the investigation about regarding Mr. Nichols’s death?
Criminal charges are being considered against the law enforcement officials involved in the stop. An investigation by the Memphis Police Department's internal affairs division determined that the officers employed excessive force and did not offer help to the victim. Additionally, state and federal authorities are investigating the incident.

The department announced that five police officers — Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, Tadarrius Bean and Demetrius Haley — were fired last week after they joined the force between 2017 and 2020.

Every day, the Memphis police officers work with integrity; this wasn’t an issue caused by their excellent work, according to the statement of the police chief, Cerelyn Davis.

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The Memphis Fire Department has said two of its employees responded to the scene and were subsequently removed from duty while it conducts an investigation.

From top left, law enforcement officials Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., Justin Smith, Tadarrius Bean and Smith III. The Memphis Police Department was clockwise from these officers.

The Memphis Police Association, the police union representing city officers, declined to comment on their layoffs. Instead, they focused on protecting the families of the terminated officers. Due to the circumstances surrounding his death, Lt. Essica Cage-Rosario, the president of the union representing Nichols, believes it’s important for him to know everything that led up to his passing.

Family members of Mr. Nichols want the police charged with first-degree murder for carrying out the crime. Rodney Wells, Mr. Nichols’s stepfather, stated at a press conference on Monday that he saw “horrific” videos that they wouldn’t accept anything less than.

Who was Tyre Nichols?
FedEx employs many corporate workers in Memphis; their second shift is worked by Mr. Nichols. According to his family, he ate lunch at his mother’s house around 7 p.m every day. He had worked at the house for about nine months.

His mother said he regularly visited the same Starbucks location daily between 8:30 and 9 AM. He also often visited Shelby Farms, a public park located just outside Memphis. Since age 6, he loved photographing sunsets and skateboarding. However, his stepfather believed he was too old for both activities. Consequently, Mr. Wells told him to put his skateboard down. Before he died, Nichols said you have a full-time job.

His mother indicated that Nichols bore the letters MAM on his forearm. She stated, “That made me proud.” "My son was an incredibly beautiful soul, and most children don’t put their names next to theirs."

Family lawyers stated Mr. Nichols cried out for his mother in what they believed to be his final words as he was being beaten on January 7. Mr. Nichols' mother lived about 100 yards away from where he was beaten, the lawyers said.

What date will the video be released on?
The public release of footage from the brutal beating has been promised by city officials, but no specific timetable has yet been announced. It's unclear how much footage the family's lawyers believe will be released. Additionally, the timeline may extend past a week. As for which sources the video includes, this is currently unknown.

Mr. Nichols’s family asked the public to give law enforcement officials time to complete their investigation.

On Monday, a news conference was held in front of Mr. Nichols's mother RowVaughn Wells, right, and stepfather Rodney Wells; they were joined by fellow lawyer Tony Romanucci. Ben Crump, a lawyer and the conference's speaker, represented his client, who he worked for.

Lawyers and Monday's witnesses showed some of the video footage they'd seen on a few occasions.

A lawyer who represents the family, Ben Crump, stated at a press conference that the video is “appalling,” “deplorable” and “heinous.” Crump's mother couldn't last one minute through the recording.

Before things got out of hand, Mr. Crump said Mr. Nichols asked law enforcement officers why he was detained.

Mr. Crump stated that his client continually asked himself “what did I do?”

Laura Faith Kebede and Jessica Jaglois provided reporting assistance.

Since 2014, Rick Rojas has reported for The Times as a staff member. He's a national South American correspondent, and one of his first assignments was covering the United States' South.

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