What To Know: Tyre Nichols

January 25, 2023
Police car lights flashing at night time

“I am a mother. . . . This incident was heinous, reckless and inhumane.”

Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis on the death of Tyre Nichols, that occurred in the days following a reportedly violent altercation with police during his arrest. The five officers involved have been fired.

Who: Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, was pulled over by Memphis police for reckless driving on January 7th. The police say Nichols fled. Five Memphis Police Officers (also black men) pursued and eventually confronted and arrested Nichols. Nichols was hospitalized and died three days later.

Photo of the Police

What: Nichols was stopped for "reckless driving" and was taken into custody after two "confrontations" with officers (NPR). According to the family's attorney, he was tased, pepper sprayed, and restrained during the traffic stop. A preliminary independent autopsy found "extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating." Details have not yet been made public.

Since the incident, the Memphis Police Department fired all five of the involved officers. In a statement, the department said the officers violated multiple policies, including "excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid." Two fire department personnel, who were "involved in the initial patient care" of Nichols, were also "relieved of duty."

On Thursday, the local district attorney announced the following charges against all five officers involved: One count of second-degree murder; One count of aggravated assault; Two counts of aggravated kidnapping; Two counts of official misconduct; One count of official oppression.

The video of the incident is expected to be released on Friday evening.

Where: Memphis, Tennessee, about 80 yards (and a 2-minute drive) from Nichols' home.

When: Nichols was pulled over on January 7 and died on January 10. Following internal investigations, the Memphis Police Department announced the dismissal of the involved officers on January 20; the announcement of the dismissed Memphis Fire Department personnel was made on January 23. Charges against the five officers involved were announced on January 26; click here to read about what the charges mean.

Important Context: The U.S. Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation into the arrest. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating if excessive force was used.

A timeline of the investigations into Tyre Nichols’ death after a traffic stop and arrest by Memphis police (CNN)

DA: 5 Memphis cops 'all responsible' for Tyre Nichols' death (The Associated Press)

Tyre Nichols was 'defenseless' during his 'savage' beating by police, attorneys say (NPR)

Tyre Nichols suffered from 'extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating': Independent autopsy (ABC News)

by Jenna Lee,