5 Black Memphis Police Officers Fired In The Death Of Tyre Nichols

An internal investigation found that they violated department policies in the death of Nichols, who is also Black.

Memphis Police Department officials on Friday (Jan. 20) fired five Memphis police officers following the traffic stop that led to the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols on Jan. 7.

The officers were fired Friday (Jan. 20) after an internal investigation by the Memphis Police Department, according to NBC News. They were identified as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith, the report notes.

The investigation found that the five former officers violated several department policies, including, “use of excessive force, duty force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid” to Nichols during the traffic stop, Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis said in a statement.

The incident began when Nichols was pulled over by the officers for reckless driving on Jan. 7, according to authorities. The traffic stop led to a “confrontation” and Nichols fled the scene on foot as he was pursued by officers.

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The department says another confrontation occurred as Nichols was being taken into custody and he complained of having shortness of breath. He died three days later (Jan. 10)  in the hospital, the report says.

Nichols’ stepfather provided the media with a photo of a badly bruised Nichols in a hospital bed. His face was bloody and his eye was swollen shut.

Relatives of Nichols said the officers were in an unmarked vehicle when they pulled Nichols over and that he went into cardiac arrest and suffered kidney failure as a result of the officers beating him.

Lawyers of the family,  Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, say that the arrests of the officers represents the first step in the fight toward justice.

They officers “must also be held accountable for robbing this man of his life and his son of a father,” the lawyers wrote in a joint statement.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into the death. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation also is looking into the force used in the arrest.

Nichols’ family, along with protesters who rallied at a police station and the National Civil Rights Museum, have pushed for the release of police body camera footage and called for officers to be charged.

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