Tyre Nichols: Police Chief Calls Death 'Heinous,' Asks for Calm

    Tyre Nichols: Police Chief Calls Death 'Heinous,' Asks for Calm
    Last updated Jan 26, 2023
    Image credit: Daily Memphian [via The New York Times]


    • Tennessee authorities are anticipating the release of police officer body cam footage from Tyre Nichols' arrest. Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, died just three days after a traffic stop on Jan. 7; Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis cautioned the public not to react violently to the "heinous" footage.[1]
    • Though the incident's details are still emerging, police statements indicate that Nichols was pulled over in a traffic stop before a confrontation ensued when Nichols ran away. Another confrontation reportedly occurred as officers arrested him nearby.[2]
    • Nichols's family, who viewed the body cam footage, said that Nichols was beaten for three minutes, putting him in critical condition. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump also characterized Nichols's death as heinous — comparing it to the 1992 video of Rodney King’s beating by Los Angeles police officers.[3]
    • An autopsy commissioned by his family's attorneys found that preliminary results indicated that Nichols experienced "extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating."[4]
    • The Memphis police department, which already launched an internal investigation, fired the five officers allegedly involved in the stop. The department added that the officers, all of whom are Black, used excessive force while also failing to assist Nichols when he needed medical attention.[5]
    • The five officers, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith, have all been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression while authorities continue to investigate other officers for potentially violating department policy.[6]


    Right narrative

    The five Memphis police officers committed a heinous act, and local authorities are doing everything possible to ensure everyone involved in this brutal killing is held accountable. Though there is a worry that the release of body cam footage will lead to violence, it's in everyone's best interest that public safety is maintained. Even Nichols' family is asking their community, and the public, to allow authorities to finish their detailed investigation.

    Left narrative

    Nichols's murder at the hands of police officers is part of a far larger and deadly pattern in policing in the US. Police officers killed at least 1,176 people last year, a record amount. Top-down changes must be made to either reform or completely redefine what role the police should have in American society. All too often, "routine encounters" lead to death.

    Political split



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