Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, died after five Memphis Police Department officers beat him on January 7, 2023. Authorities on Friday released an hour of footage of the incident.
The video shows police officers beating the FedEx worker for three minutes. They pepper-sprayed and tased him as Nichols tried to run away. He had to be hospitalized in critical condition. The five officers, all African-American, – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith – were fired from the police department and have been charged with murder in Tyre Nichols’ death.
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“I’m going to baton the (expletive) out you,” one officer can be heard saying in the video. “Get on the ground!,” another one officer yelled, as a third one was heard saying “Tase him! Tase him!”
RowVaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother, told CNN’s Don Lemon that the police officers involved in her son’s death brought shame to the Black community.
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“People try to say, Black people, we only try to go after white officers. That’s not true. We don’t care what color the officer is. We want bad officers taken off the force,” Wells said.
“We know there’s a lot of great officers. I know officers, but there are bad officers, too. Those are the ones we need to get rid of. … I don’t care what color a police officer is, but by them being Black, it hurt the Black community.”
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Nichols’ family, Sacramento natives, lived in Memphis. Tyre was a father to a four-year-old, as per the Associated Press.
“He was one of those people who made everyone around them happy,” said Lucille Washington, Tyre’s Step-Grandmother at a memorial service. The family moved to Memphis just before the COVID-19 pandemic but got stuck, according to the Associated Press.
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Nichols lived with his parents, and worked second shift at FedEx with his stepfather.
“My son was a beautiful soul, and he touched everyone,” Tyre’s mother said.
“He was just his own person. He didn’t follow what anyone else was doing,” she continued, adding that he had her name tattooed on his arm.
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His stepfather, Rodney Wells, said he had recently joked to Nichols that he was too old to skateboard.
Nichols also had a passion for photography and sunsets. RowVaughen said that each night he would go to nearby Shelby Farms Park, on the eastern outskirts of Memphis, to watch the sunset and click pictures.