Five former Memphis police officers have been arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tyre Nichols on January 7. According to Nichols’ family’s lawyers, he was killed following what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop that turned into a brutal beating reminding of the 1991 assault on Rodney King in 1991. Nichols died three days after the traffic stop. An independent autopsy revealed he had “suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating”. 

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The Memphis police department is investigating the deadly encounter, as are state and federal authorities. Police officials are expected to release bodycam footage of the traffic stop on Friday.

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Who was Tyre Nichols?

Tyre Nichols was an African-American man who died on January 10, 2023, three days after a traffic stop by officers from the Memphis Police Department. He worked the second shift at FedEx, the parcel shipping company. He was 29 years old. Nichols was the youngest among four siblings.

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He had a 4-year-old son. He enjoyed photographing sunsets and skateboarding. He would return to his mother’s house around 7 PM every night for his meal break, his mother RowVaughn Wells said.

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Nichols had a tattoo of his mother’s name on his arm. He shifted to Memphis right before the Covid-19 pandemic and got stuck there when things shut down, his mother said. Nichols also had Crohn’s disease and suffered from severe weight loss.

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According to his friend Nate Spates Jr, Nichols became friends with an unlikely group of people because they kept showing up at the same Starbucks around the same time in the morning. These five or six friends would together a couple of times a week and put their phones away so they could be present and enjoy each other’s company. Nichols met Spates about a year ago at a Starbucks in Germantown, Tennessee.