5 things to know about the Tyre Nichols case
And if you know anything about the Tyre Nichols case, contact us immediately to share your update.
1. The first police report does not match Tyre Nichols’ death.
Four videos were released Friday, including footage from police body cameras and street surveillance cameras. They show officers first removing Nichols from his vehicle after pulling him over, an initial struggle when Nichols breaks loose and runs away from the officers, and then disturbing images of Nichols being restrained and beaten by five officers at an intersection.
An initial police report filed in the hours after the Tyre Nichols traffic stop suggested he was violent, made claims that were contradicted by video later released by police, and “started to fight” with officers—even grabbing one of their guns at one point.
The report said Nichols was irate and sweating profusely when he got out of his vehicle and refused lawful detention by law enforcement.
However, none of these claims was substantiated by police videos released by the City of Memphis. It’s not clear who wrote the police report, which references both the Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
2. The Memphis Police Department did receive some praise for a portion of its response.
City of Memphis law enforcement officials are being hailed for their unusually rapid investigation and transparency weeks after Tyre Nichols was brutalized by Memphis police officers, compared to similar cases in other US cities.
The swift filing of charges and release of video contrasts with what happened in some previous instances of deadly police violence—including the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor by Louisville, Kentucky, police in 2020 and the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police the same year.
Law enforcement and legal analysts are now pointing to Memphis’ actions as a new example of how to maintain trust in the community after fatal police encounters.
According to Areva Martin, an accomplished wrongful death lawyer and legal affairs commentator, “The police department obviously learned something from…other high-profile cases when district attorneys were not transparent when they did not act quickly. They did the right thing in this case by convening a grand jury, investigating the case quickly, and then charging these officers.”
3. Most nationwide protests after the release of video footage were peaceful.
Numerous mostly peaceful protests were held across the U.S. following Friday’s release of body camera footage of Tyre Nichols’ death.
Police departments across the country—including in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Nashville and New York—said they were either monitoring events or already had plans in place in case of protests.
Hours before the video release, Memphis’ police chief sought to prepare the community, saying the footage would show “acts that defy humanity”—then, authorities braced for potential civil unrest.
In Memphis, where Nichols died, a group of demonstrators gathered at a downtown park and then took to the streets, shutting down the I-55 bridge over the Mississippi River between Memphis and West Memphis. They chanted “no justice, no peace” and “justice for Tyre,” closing the bridge for nearly three hours before peacefully disbanding.
Mostly peaceful protesters in Memphis took to Interstate 55 Friday night after the videos went online, blocking both lanes of the highway’s bridge connecting the western Tennessee city to Arkansas. There were no arrests.
4. Fire Department employees lost jobs and sheriff deputies were placed on leave after Tyre Nichols’ death.
Three members of the Memphis Fire Department who responded to the fatal police confrontation with Tyre Nichols were dismissed on Monday after investigators found he was beaten and left handcuffed on the ground without medical attention for nearly 15 minutes.
Emergency medical technicians Robert Long and JaMichael Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker have been terminated.
An internal review of their conduct found that all three fire department employees “violated numerous (fire department) policies and protocols,” the agency said.
Additionally, two deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office were put on leave last week pending an investigation, after videos of the incident were released.
Antonio Romanucci, an attorney in the Tyre Nichols case representing the Nichols family with famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump, revealed that “everybody on that scene was complicit in this man’s death, in one way, shape, form, or another, somebody failed Tyre Nichols.”
5. Most personalities associated with the Tyre Nichols case disagree if Tyre Nichols’ death was “preventable” or not.
Retired LAPD sergeant Cheryl Dorsey said the footage of Tyre Nichols’ death has left many unanswered questions about what Memphis PD did to prevent the tragedy.
“All of this was preventable,” Dorsey told CNN. “You have officers who are young on the job, unsupervised out there doing what they do on a regular basis. This was not anything that they aren’t accustomed to doing.”
Retired Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn explained that “This incident was a preventable incident. That did not need to happen.” He also said the behavior of the Memphis police officers involved in Nichols’ death now also calls into question other calls and arrests those officers have handled previously.
And, finally, a portion of a release by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, and AAMC Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer David A. Acosta, MD, on Tyre Nichols’ death reads: “The tragic and wholly unnecessary beating and death of (the) Tyre Nichols (Case) brings yet again into stark view the lethal junction between police brutality and racism.”
And finally, more on the guests at Tyre Nichols’ appropriately-emotional funeral.
The guest list included dignitaries from the highest levels of government. And a fiery eulogy by Rev. Al Sharpton focused on the five fired officers
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