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Tyre Nichols was killed during a traffic stop. Here’s what we know

Shortly after being pulled over, he was beaten by the police who pulled him over to the point of being hospitalized. He died three days later

SHARE Tyre Nichols was killed during a traffic stop. Here’s what we know
Rodney Wells speaks during a memorial service for his son in Memphis, Tenn.

Rodney Wells, stepfather of Tyre Nichols, speaks during a memorial service for his son Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn. Nichols was killed during a traffic stop with Memphis Police on Jan. 7.

Mark Weber, Daily Memphian via Associated Press

Tyre Nichols was 29 years old when he was pulled over in Memphis, Tennessee, on Jan. 7 for a traffic stop. Shortly after being pulled over, he was beaten by the police who pulled him over to the point of being hospitalized, his family’s lawyers said. He died three days later.

According to his family’s attorneys, there is video evidence of the “non-stop beating” of Nichols by the cops.

“He was defenseless the entire time. He was a human piñata for those police officers. It was an unadulterated, unabashed, nonstop beating of this young boy for three minutes,” attorney Antonio Romanucci said at a news conference, per CNN.

Nichols is Black, and the officers involved were also Black. According to his mother, he was on his way home from a park “where he liked to skateboard and watch each evening’s sunset,” per the BBC. His family viewed the footage of what happened during the stop on Monday for the first time.

“What I saw on the video today was horrific,” Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, said, per CNN. “No father, mother should have to witness what I saw today.”

Few details were released by officials, other than that Nichols was pulled over for “reckless driving” and attempted to flee the scene on foot after a confrontation when he was initially pulled over. The footage that was released showed Nichols being “pepper sprayed, shocked with a stun gun and restrained,” The New York Times reported.

State and federal investigators are looking into the circumstances around Nichols’ death. An internal investigation is already underway by the Memphis Police Department that found the officers “used excessive force” and that they “failed to intervene or provide help,” per the Times.

All five officers were terminated this week. The Memphis Police Association, which represents the officers, said Memphis residents and Nichols’ family “deserve to know the complete account of the events leading up to his death and what may have contributed to it,” according to CNN.

Who was Tyre Nichols?

He worked at FedEx and had a 4-year-old son. His mother, Ravaughn Wells, said he would go to the same Starbucks every day. He also enjoyed skateboarding and would go to his mom’s house for his lunch break each day.

The night he was killed, he told police “he just wanted to go home, and in what they believed were his final words, he called out for his mother,” per the Times.

“As I said from day one, justice for us is murder one. Anything short of that, we will not accept,” Rodney Wells said, per CNN.