Tyre Nichols was a Memphis, Tennessee, man who died following a January 7, 2023, use-of-force incident with Memphis police officers that the police chief described as “heinous” and “inhumane” physical abuse. The official cause of death and autopsy, as of January 28, 2023, have not been released, CNN reported.
Nichols’ mother told CNN he suffered cardiac arrest, failing kidneys and a broken neck.
An independent autopsy showed Nichols suffered “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating,” a news release from the family’s attorney, Ben Crump, said. CNN reported that the full independent autopsy report has not yet been released, either.
Crump tweeted that Nichols was “beaten to death during a traffic stop.”
According to CBS News, Nichols, 29, worked at FedEx and was a father and skateboarder.
Five officers were terminated, the police chief announced in a video statement; they were named in a Memphis police news release as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith. They were all hired between 2018 and 2020, the police press release said.
They were found to have “violated multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid,” the January 20, 2023, release said.
The five officers were criminally charged with second-degree murder and other counts, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Here’s what you need to know about Tyre Nichols’ cause of death:
Tyre Nichols Went Into Cardiac Arrest & His Kidneys Failed, His Mother Says
Nichols’ mother RowVaughn Wells described his condition to CNN.
Wells told CNN: “They beat my son like a piñata. Those men, if you combine their weights, they all – it was over 1000 pounds, beating and beating a 150-pound person to death.”
“The doctor proceeded to tell me that my son had went into cardiac arrest and that his kidneys were failing,” she told CNN. “This doesn’t sound consistent to somebody being tased or pepper sprayed.”
Wells added to CNN: “When my husband and I got to the hospital and I saw my son, he was already gone. They had beat him to a pulp.” She told the network that Nichols “had bruises all over him. His head was swollen like a watermelon. His neck was busting because of the swelling. They broke his neck.”
On a GoFundMe page set up as the Tyre Nichols Memorial Fund, his mother wrote:
During my son’s interaction with the police, they beat him beyond recognition until he became unconscious. He was then taken to a hospital and immediately placed on life support. He died 3 days later, but I believe that my son died on January 7th, the moment those 5 Black Memphis Police Officers pulled Tyre over and beat him to death for no good reason. His cousin who saw him in the hospital, swollen and disfigured, like ‘he was a scary monster.’
CNN reported that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation “announced Nichols had died due to injuries sustained in a ‘use-of-force incident with officers,'” citing this tweet. The tweet in question states only,
UPDATE: Today, the individual involved in the use-of-force incident with officers with the Memphis Police Department on Saturday, Tyre D. Nichols (DOB: 6/5/93) of Memphis, succumbed to his injuries. This remains an active and ongoing investigation.
Heavy contacted the Shelby County Medical Examiner’s Office, but it’s closed on weekends.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation press release, the first encounter between Nichols and Memphis police “occurred at approximately 8:22 p.m. during a traffic stop at the intersections of Raines and Ross Roads, in which evidence shows Nichols ran from officers during a physical altercation.”
A second encounter “occurred a short time later around Castlegate Lane and Bear Creek Cove, which also included a physical encounter, after which Nichols, 29, was hospitalized in Memphis with critical injuries. On January 10th, doctors pronounced him deceased,” TBI’s release says.
Evidence identified the five officers as being the men “who caused Nichols’ injuries,” according to TBI.
The officers were charged “with seven counts each: Second Degree Murder, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Kidnapping with Bodily Injury, Aggravated Kidnapping in Possession of a Deadly Weapon, Official Misconduct, Official Misconduct – Refrain, and Official Oppression,” TBI reported.
The Police Chief Says Five Officers Engaged in ‘Physical Abuse’ of Nichols
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn David said in a video statement that five Memphis, Tennessee, police officers were terminated.
“These officers were found to be directly responsible for the physical abuse of Mr. Nichols,” she said in the video. She added that other officers are still under investigation for department policy violations.
“I promise full and complete cooperation” to determine the “entire scope of facts” that contributed to Nichols’ death, the chief said in the video.
“This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual,” she said, calling the officers’ actions heinous, reckless, and inhumane, as well as a “disregard of basic human rights.”
“The video was released because it was important to the community and to Tyre’s family, as they want the world to be their witness and feel their pain,” Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said in a press release. “But as we witness the tragic end of Tyre’s life, I also urge you to remember Tyre Nichols as his family does: with his big smile, skateboarding, and being a loving family member.”
Davis told CNN police have not been able to “substantiate the probable cause for reckless driving by Nichols before the fatal encounter.”
Nichols was an aspiring photographer who posted photography to his website. He wrote:
My name is Tyre D. Nichols. I am an aspiring photographer. Well I mostly do this stuff for fun but i enjoy it very much. Photography helps me look at the world in a more creative way. It expresses me in ways i cannot write down for people. I take different types of photograhy, anywhere from action sports to rural photos, to bodies of water and my favorite.. landscape photography. My vision is to bring my viewers deep into what i am seeing through my eye and out through my lens. People have a story to tell why not capture it instead of doing the “norm” and writing it down or speaking it. I hope to one day let people see what i see and to hopefully admire my work based on the quality and ideals of my work. So on that note enjoy my page and let me know what you think.