Who was Tire Nichols? Son, father and someone who enjoyed skating, photography and sunsets, according to his family

Who was Tire Nichols?  Son, father and someone who enjoyed skating, photography and sunsets, according to his family

() — Tire Nichols was a family man, a man who loved his mother, and a free-spirited soul looking for a new life in Memphis, Tennessee.

That life was tragically cut short earlier this month after a violent arrest by five Memphis police officers.

Tire Nichols died after being stopped by police in Memphis. He had ‘extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating’, according to preliminary autopsy

Now, as attention turns to the five former officers charged with manslaughter in Nichols’ death, according to court documents, the family wants the world to know who Nichols was.

Tire Nichols (Courtesy Ben Crump and Nichols family)

The 29-year-old was the baby of his family, the youngest of four children. 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 said. “No one is perfect, that’s fine, but he was very close.”

“I know everyone says they had a good son, and everyone’s son is good, but my son, he was actually a good boy,” she said.

He was a family man

Above all else, Nichols loved being a father and loved his son, his family said.

“All he was trying to do was get better as a father to his 4-year-old son,” attorney Benjamin Crump said at the family’s news conference.

Nichols was someone who brought joy to everyone. “When he walks in the door, he wants to give you a hug,” Crump said, speaking on behalf of the Nichols family.

Nichols moved to Memphis just before the covid-19 pandemic and was stuck there when things shut down, his mother said. “But he was fine with it because he loved his mother,” she added.

Her mother said she loved her “to death” so much that she decided to record it permanently.

“He had my name tattooed on his arm, and that made me proud because most guys don’t put their mom’s name on it, but he did,” Wells said with a laugh.

“My son was a beautiful soul who touched everyone,” she said.

He was meeting friends at a Starbucks

Nichols befriended an unusual group of people because they kept showing up at the same Starbucks at the same time each morning, his friend Nate Spates Jr. said.

A couple of times a week, these five or six friends would sit together, put their phones away so they could be present and enjoy each other’s company, said Spates, who met Nichols about a year ago at a Starbucks in Germantown, Tennessee. .

The group didn’t talk much about their personal lives, and they never broached politics. But sports, particularly football, and Nichols’ favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers, were regular topics.

Nichols was a “free-spirited person, a gentleman who marched to the beat of his own drum,” Spates told . “He liked what he liked. If you liked what he liked, fine. But also”.

Spates said he saw himself in Nichols and recognized a young man who was trying to find his own way and learning to believe in himself.

He watched Nichols grow up and begin to believe that he could do anything “he set his mind to doing in this world,” Spates said.

Spates’ favorite memory of Ty, as he called Nichols, was last year on his own birthday, when Nichols met his wife and 3-year-old son at his regular Starbucks. He watched Nichols play with his youngest son and talk kindly to his wife.

“When we left, my wife said, ‘I really like your soul. She has such good spirit,’” Spates said.

“Talking about someone’s soul is very profound,” he said. I will never forget when she said that. I will always remember that about him.”

Spates joins the rest of the Nichols family and the Memphis community in their frustration at the lack of information about the traffic stop that resulted in Nichols’ death. He said that he has had to separate a lot to be able to even talk about his friend.

“I just hope this really opens up an honest dialogue, and not a dialogue until the next one is over, but a dialogue for change,” he said.

He worked, but he lived for his passions

Nichols’ daily life was normal at times, as she worked and spent time with family, but also made time for her passions, her mother, Wells, said.

After her Starbucks sessions, she would come home and take a nap before going to work, said Wells, with whom she lived. Nichols worked second shift at FedEx, where he had been employed for about nine months, he said.

He would come home during his lunch break with his mom, who was cooking dinner.

Nichols loved his mom’s homemade chicken, made with sesame seeds, just the way he liked it, Wells said.

When he wasn’t working, Nichols would head to Shelby Farms Park to skateboard, something he’s been doing since he was 6 years old. She would wake up on Saturdays to go skating or sometimes go to the park to enjoy the sunset and take pictures, her mother said.

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

“My son wanted to go see the sunset every night, that was his passion.”

Photography was a form of self-expression that writing could never capture for Nichols, who wrote on his photography website that it helped him “see the world in a more creative way.”

While he took photos of everything from sports action shots to bodies of water, landscape photography was his favorite, he wrote.

“I hope one day to let people see what I see and admire my work based on the quality and ideals of my work,” he wrote. He signed the post: “His friend of his, Tire D. Nichols.”

Skating was another way Nichols showed the world his personality. A YouTube video of Nichols shows his face up close to him with the sun shining behind him before he rides his skateboard up and down a ramp. He runs over the rail and does tricks on his board in the video, which was shown at a news conference by his family’s attorney, Crump.

Sunsets, skateboarding and his positive nature were all things Nichols was known for, his friend Angelina Paxton told The Commercial Appeal, a local newspaper.

Skating was a big part of his life in Sacramento, California, where he lived before moving to Memphis, Paxton said.

“He was an independent person and he didn’t care if he didn’t fit into what a traditional black man in California was supposed to be. He had such a free spirit and skating gave him wings,” Paxton said.

Paxton and Nichols met when they were 11 and attending a youth group, she told the newspaper.

“Tyre was someone who knew everyone, and everyone had a positive image of him because that’s who he was,” Paxton said. “Every church knew him; all the youth groups knew him.”

When Paxton found out about Nichols’ death, he broke down, he told affiliate WMC.

“My knees gave out,” he told WMC. “I just fell for it because I couldn’t believe someone with such light would be eliminated in such a dark way.”

Paxton attended Nichols’ funeral earlier this month in Memphis. She said that she represented the people in California who knew him and wanted to support his family.

“There would be a couple thousand people in this room,” Paxton told WMC, if the tribute had been in Sacramento. “He was such an innocent person. He was a light. He could have been any of us.”

For his family, seeing the turnout and feeling the outpouring of support meant a lot.

Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, told WMC: “My son is a community person, so it was good to see this (tribute).”

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