() — Nearly three weeks after a traffic stop in Memphis, Tennessee, led to the violent arrest and subsequent death of a driver, Tire Nichols, police are expected to release footage of the incident publicly.
Tire Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, was hospitalized after his arrest on January 7 and died three days later from his injuries, according to police. Five Memphis Police Department officers, also black, were fired after an internal investigation and face criminal charges.
Nichols’ family and their lawyers met with police and city officials to view video recordings of the traffic stop, which has been described as a ruthless and prolonged beating that lasted minutes after the officers gave chase to Nichols, who was running away
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis condemned the conduct of the agents and added that other uniformed officers are still being investigated.
“It’s not just a professional glitch,” Davis said. “This is about a failure of basic humanity towards another person. This incident was egregious, reckless and inhumane. And in the interest of transparency, when the video is released in the next few days, you will see for yourself.”
Here’s what we know about the timeline of the incident, the investigations by authorities, and the reaction of Nichols’ family:
January 7: a traffic stop with fatal consequences
On January 7, at approximately 8:30 p.m. local time, officers stopped 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, fled on foot, according to Memphis police. Officers detained him and “another confrontation ensued” resulting in Nichols’ arrest, according to the police. police.
An ambulance was called to the scene of the arrest after Nichols complained of difficulty breathing, according to police, and he was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
On January 10, three days after the arrest, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) announced that Nichols had died from injuries sustained in the “use of force incident with officers.” , according to a statement.
Jan 15 – Police Update Investigation
Following the traffic stop, the officers involved were relieved of their duties, a standard department procedure, while an investigation into the use of force was launched, Memphis police said. The TBI and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office joined the investigation.
Preliminary results indicated the severity of the officers’ conduct during the stop, police said.
“After reviewing various sources of information regarding this incident, I have come to the conclusion that immediate and appropriate action is necessary,” Chief Davis said in a statement released Jan. 15.
“Today, the department is notifying the agents involved of the impending administrative actions,” it added.
The department needed to carry out a required procedure before disciplining or firing public administration employees, the statement added.
In the days after Nichols’ death, his family’s lawyer, Ben Crump, repeatedly expressed his desire that the recordings from the body cameras and traffic stop surveillance be made public.
“This type of death in custody destroys community trust if agencies are not transparent quickly,” Crump said in a statement.
Jan 18: Federal investigation declared
On January 18, the Justice Department declared an open civil rights investigation into Nichols’ death.
“Last week, Tire Nichols tragically died, just days after being involved in an incident in which Memphis Police Department officers used force during his arrest,” stated in a statement Kevin G. Ritz, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.
Recognizing the ongoing efforts of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the District Attorney’s office “in coordination with the FBI Memphis Field Office and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, has opened a civil rights investigation,” Ritz said, declining to provide information. more details.
January 20: Police officers are appointed and fired
Following their internal investigation, Memphis police identified and terminated five officers involved in the traffic stop due to their violation of multiple department policies.
Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith were fired for violating their “excessive use of force, their duty to intervene, and their duty to render assistance,” the department said in a statement. release.
“The egregious nature of this incident is not a reflection of the good work our officers do, with integrity every day,” Davis said.
A statement from the Memphis Police Association, the union that represents the officers, declined to comment on the firings beyond saying that the city of Memphis and the Nichols family “deserve to know the full account of the events leading up to his death and what may have contributed to it”.
The Nichols family’s attorneys, Crump and Antonio Romanucci, called the firing of the five officers “the first step in getting justice for Tire and his family.”
Two Memphis Fire Department employees who were part of Nichols’ “initial patient care” have also been fired, department public information officer Qwanesha Ward told ‘s Nadia Romero.
Jan 23: Family views police video
After meeting with officials to view previously unreleased police video of the arrest, Nichols’ family and their lawyers described their horror at what they saw.
“He was helpless the whole time. He was a human piñata to those cops. It was an absolute beating, shameless, non-stop beating this young man for three minutes. That’s what we saw on that video,” Romanucci said. “It wasn’t just violent, it was savage.”
“What I saw on the video today was horrible,” Rodney Wells, Nichols’s stepfather, said Monday. “No father, no mother should have to witness what I saw today.”
Crump described the video as “appalling”, “deplorable” and “appalling”. He said Ravaughn Wells, Nichols’s mother, was unable to finish watching the first minute of the recording after hearing Nichols ask, “What did I do?” At the end of the recording, Nichols is heard calling his mother three times, the attorney said.
According to preliminary results of an autopsy commissioned by his family’s lawyers, Nichols suffered “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating.” requested a copy of the autopsy, which Crump says will be available when the full report is ready.
The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office has yet to announce if anyone will be charged in the case. District Attorney Steve Mulroy told on Tuesday that his office is ensuring that all necessary interviews with those involved have been conducted prior to the release of the images.
“A lot of people’s questions about exactly what happened will be answered, of course, once people see the video,” Mulroy said, noting that he believes the city will release enough footage to show the “entirety of the incident, from the beginning to the end”.