What Happened To Tyre Nichols?


Natalya Larez, Cougar Tales Editor

On January 7th, 2023, a traffic stop went horrifically wrong, one that would shock the country. Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old motorist, was pulled over for ”reckless driving”. However, the stop went wrong. After attempting to run on foot, Tyre was beaten by five Black police officers, so aggressively that he died in the hospital on January 10th, only 3 days later.

Nichols, the father to a 4-year-old son, was known as a skateboarder and nature photographer from Sacramento, California. He arrived in California mere months before the pandemic and had landed a job at FedEx. He worked his way up to a major position and was well-admired by his peers. He died 9 months after joining the company.

According to police reports released on January 8th, Nichols was stopped due to some questionable driving decisions. During the first confrontation, Nichols fled the scene on foot. Once the police caught up to him and arrested him, Nichols complained about shortness of breath.  According to his family and video cam footage, Nichols was beaten to the point he was unrecognizable. Footage of the scene has been released, leaving many people in disbelief.

In the videos taken, 5 officers are seen dragging Nichols from his car and shouting several profanities. When Nichols runs, one officer attempts to deploy a taser at him, and eventually chases him on foot. During the videos, it can be heard from Nichols shouting, “I’m just trying to go home.” Nichols was only 100 yards away from his house. Later on, footage showed the officers kicking, punching, and using a baton to strick Nichols, despite the fact he was laying on the ground, badly injured.

“Like Nichols, all of the former officers — who were fired before Thursday’s indictments — are Black.”

The footage of the scene circulated across the country fast and several peaceful protests have taken place in respect of Tyre Nichols. Per example, in Memphis, a large group gathered at a downtown park, protesting over the 1-55 bridge. They chanted “No justice, no peace” and “justice for Tyre,” closing the bridge for nearly three hours before peacefully disbanding.”

Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith, the 5 officers who responded to the scene, each face several charges, including second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy stated that although each officer played a different role, each one of them was responsible for the death of this young man.

“This tragedy meets the absolute definition of a needless and unnecessary death. Tyre’s loved ones’ lives were forever changed when he was beaten to death, and we will keep saying his name until justice is served,” said Crump, one of the families attorneys.

The Justice Department and the FBI have also launched a civil rights investigation into Nichols’ death and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation launched a separate investigation.