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What we know, and what we still don't know, about what led to the death of Tire Nichols


Tire Nichols was hospitalized after being taken into custody on January 7, police said. Charges filed against 5 ex-cops in death of Tire Nichols in Memphis 2:24 (CNN) -- It's been nearly three weeks since a traffic stop in Memphis led to the violent arrest and, three days later, the death of a 29-year-old black driver. Tire Nichols died after being stopped by police in Memphis. He had 'extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating', according to preliminary autopsy Tire Nichols wa

Charges filed against 5 ex-cops in death of Tire Nichols in Memphis 2:24

(CNN) --

It's been nearly three weeks since a traffic stop in Memphis led to the violent arrest and, three days later, the death of a 29-year-old black driver.

  • Tire Nichols died after being stopped by police in Memphis.

    He had 'extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating', according to preliminary autopsy

Tire Nichols was hospitalized after he was taken into custody on January 7, police said.

Five Memphis Police Department officers, who are also black, were fired after an internal investigation and face criminal charges, including manslaughter charges.

Tire Nichols.

(Provided by Ben Crump)

Key questions remain unanswered as the nation, which is closely watching how police treat people of color, especially after the 2020 mass protests, waits for authorities to release footage of the incident.

This is what we know:

The match'

On January 7, around 8:30 p.m., Memphis officers pulled over a vehicle on suspicion of reckless driving, according to a Memphis police statement.

"A confrontation ensued" between officers and the driver of the vehicle, later identified as Nichols, who then fled on foot, according to Memphis police.

Officers pulled him over and "another confrontation occurred," resulting in Nichols' arrest, police said.


It is not clear what may have seemed reckless in his driving, how far Nichols fled on foot, who was involved in the initial encounter with police, how officers stopped him, how long these "encounters" lasted, why officers they felt compelled to confront Nichols twice and where exactly this occurred.

At a news conference Thursday, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said "it took a period of time" to get medical help for Nichols when he was injured during a traffic stop by Memphis police. .

  • Timeline of investigations into the death of Tire Nichols following a traffic stop and arrest by Memphis police

Mulroy said there was a traffic stop and an initial altercation involving several officers and Nichols.

Pepper spray was used and Nichols ran, he said.

“There was another altercation at a nearby location in which Mr. Nichols sustained serious injuries,” Mulroy continued.

"After a period of waiting time, an ambulance took him away."

On January 10, three days after the arrest, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that Nichols had died from injuries sustained in the “use of force incident with officers,” according to a statement.

Nichols suffered "extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating," according to preliminary results of an autopsy commissioned by his family's attorneys.

“We can state that preliminary findings indicate that Tire suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating, and that his observed injuries are consistent with what the family and attorneys witnessed on video of his fatal encounter with police on January 7. 2023," attorney Benjamin Crump said in a statement.

CNN asked Crump for a copy of the autopsy commissioned by the family, but said the full report is not yet ready.

Authorities have also not released Nichols' autopsy.

Five officers face charges in Nichols' death

Following their internal investigation, Memphis police identified and terminated five officers involved in the traffic stop due to a violation of multiple department policies.

Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith were fired for failing to "use excessive force, duty to intervene and duty to render assistance," the department said in a statement. release.

Martin III, Smith, Bean, Haley, and Mills, Jr. have each been charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of officer misconduct, and one count of officer repression, according to Shelby County Criminal Court and Shelby County Jail records.

Although all five former officers have been charged, it is unclear what role each played in the incident.

A statement from the Memphis Police Association, the union that represents officers, declined to comment on the firings beyond saying that the city of Memphis and Nichols' family "deserve to know the full account of the events leading up to to his death and what may have contributed to it".

In addition to the firing of the officers, two Memphis Fire Department employees who were part of the "initial patient care" for Nichols were also fired, Qwanesha Ward, public information agent for the department, told CNN's Nadia Romero.

It is unclear to what extent those employees cared for Nichols and what kind of help, if any, was provided.

When asked Tuesday what those fire department employees did or didn't do, the family's attorney, Antonio Romanucci, told CNN there were "limitations" on how much he could say.

“For a period of time before paramedics arrive on the scene, firefighters are on the scene.

And they are there with Tire and the police officers before the paramedics arrive,” he said.

Who was Tire Nichols?

Tire Nichols does tricks according to a YouTube video, which was shown at a press conference by his family's lawyer, Crump.

(From Austin Dean)

Nichols was the baby of his family, the youngest of four children, and he loved being a father to his son, his family said.

He was a "good boy" who spent Sundays doing laundry and getting ready for the week, said his mother, RowVaughn Wells.

“Does that sound like someone who did all these bad things, according to the police?” Wells asked.

"No one is perfect, that's fine, but he was very close."

Nichols moved to Memphis before the Covid-19 pandemic and was stuck there when the shutdowns began, his mother said.

When not working at FedEx, Nichols enjoyed photography and skateboarding, something he had been doing since he was 6 years old.

Nichols had Crohn's disease, a digestive problem, and weighed between 130 and 150 pounds despite his 6-foot-1 height, his mother said.

What the police have said since the incident

On January 18, the Justice Department said a civil rights investigation was opened into Nichols' death.

Recognizing the ongoing efforts of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the US Attorney's office "in coordination with the FBI Memphis Field Office and the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, has opened a civil rights investigation," it said. US Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee said Kevin G. Ritz, declining to provide further details.

The Memphis Police Chief condemned the actions of the officers involved.

“This is not just a professional failure.

This is basic inhumanity towards another individual,” Chief Cerelyn Davis said in a YouTube video Wednesday, the first on-camera comments from her about the arrest that preceded Nichols' death.

"This incident was egregious, reckless and inhumane, and in the sense of transparency, when the video is released in the next few days, you will see for yourself."

The charges that ex-police officers will face for the death of Tire Nichols 4:20

Family and lawyers have seen footage of the incident

CNN has obtained portions of the audio from the police scanner that led to Nichols' arrest.

Parts of the audio are inaudible, but a brief part of the conversation between an agent and the operator can be heard.

An officer can be heard saying, "We've got a black man running" and giving instructions to "check the car's registration and see what the address is," followed by what sounds like Nichols is in trouble.

It's unclear where this audio fits into the incident sequence or which officer is speaking.

Lawyers for the family viewed the video on Monday and described it as "appalling."

A taser was used on Nichols, he was pepper-sprayed and restrained, Crump said, comparing the incident to the Los Angeles police beating of Rodney King in 1991.

Crump described the video as "appalling," "deplorable" and "appalling."

He said Wells, Nichols's mother, was unable to view the first minute of footage after hearing Nichols ask, "What did I do?"

At the end of the recording, Nichols can be heard calling his mother three times, the lawyer said.

Nichols fled from the police, according to Rodney Wells, her stepfather, because she was afraid.

"Our son ran because he feared for his life," Rodney Wells said Monday.

“He didn't run because he was trying to get rid of drugs, weapons, nothing like that.

He ran because he feared for his life.

And when you watch the video, you'll see why he feared for his life."

Nichols' family wants the officers charged with murder, the Romanucci family's attorney told CNN's Erin Burnett on Wednesday night.

Video of the incident will be released this Friday afternoon, Mulroy said Thursday during a news conference.

"A lot of people's questions about what exactly happened, of course, will be answered once people see the video," Mulroy told CNN's Laura Coates on Tuesday night, noting that he thinks the city will release enough footage to show the "entirety of the incident, from start to finish."

CNN's Eric Levenson, Nick Valencia, Christina Zdanowicz, Jamiel Lynch, Jaide Timm-Garcia, Travis Caldwell, Jason Hanna and Chris Boyette contributed to this report.

police abuse

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2023-01-27

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