Man Dies At Hands Of Local Police

By: Jennie Brouse

On Jan. 7 of this year, 29-year-old Tyre Nichols was stopped by five police officers after a reported traffic violation in Memphis, Tennessee.

After being pulled over, it is alleged that Nichols attempted to flee the officers on foot after being tasered and pepper-sprayed, only to be stopped again where the officers confronted him. 

STATNews reported that the “Memphis police officers had tased him, pepper-sprayed him, punched him, kicked him in the head, and beaten him with a baton.” 

According to AP, Nichols complained of “shortness of breath” and was taken to the hospital where he would eventually die from his sustained injuries on Jan. 10. 

The five officers responsible for  Nichols’ death have since been discharged from their roles in the city’s police department. They were charged on Jan. 26 with assorted felonies, including second-degree murder, as well as aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.

One of the officers charged was also reported to have taken videos of Nichols after he was beaten, on his personal cell phone. 

A sixth officer has also been identified as playing a role in Nichols’ death. It is alleged that this officer had fired off his taser at Nichols as he was running from the first scene. 

 “He was a human piñata for those police officers. Not only was it violent, it was savage,” Antonio Romanucci, a lawyer for the Nichols family said.

The five officers being charged are facing up to 60 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines for the second-degree murder charge alone.

EMTs on the scene have also been temporarily suspended and stripped of their licenses because they did not carry out an effective emergency response to aid the injured Nichols. It was concluded that the EMTs did not treat Nichols for 19 minutes after arriving on the scene. Recently released surveillance footage shows EMTs merely standing around Nichols as he was laying on the ground. 

Along with those listed, several other officers and personnel have been relieved of their duties in connection with Nichols’ death. 

Since his death, protestors across the country have been standing against police brutality in honor of Nichols. Students in high schools and colleges across the country have been walking out of their classrooms as a “walk out.”

The protests began in Memphis on Jan. 27, near where Nichols had been beaten, after the footage of the incident was released. That night, Nichols’ family held a candlelight vigil in his honor at a local skatepark. The site of the incident has since been turned into a makeshift memorial site for Nichols.

Other protests took place in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Portland, as well as several other cities. Protestors held signs with Nichols’ name and demanded an end to police officers abusing citizens. 

Nichols’ mother has requested that the protests remain peaceful, and most of them have been. 

“We want peace. We do not want any type of uproar. We do not want any type of disturbance. We want peaceful protest,” Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells said. 

Sources: AP, CNN, NPR, New York Times, STATnews, Wall Street Journal

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