Video of deadly Tyre Nichols traffic stop to be released after five Memphis police officers fired

Officials say five Memphis Police Department officers have been fired for excessive use of force, failure to intervene and failure to render aid — stemming from an arrest during a traffic stop of a man who later died in a hospital

Adrian Sainz
Sunday 22 January 2023 01:51 GMT
Tyre Nichols' stepfather Rodney Wells, center, stands next to a photo of Nichols in the hospital after his arrest, during a protest in Memphis
Tyre Nichols' stepfather Rodney Wells, center, stands next to a photo of Nichols in the hospital after his arrest, during a protest in Memphis (AP)

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Five Memphis Police Department officers have been fired for excessive use of force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid — stemming from an arrest during a traffic stop of a man who later died in a hospital, officials said Friday.

The police chief said Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr and Justin Smith were involved in the 7 January arrest of Tyre Nichols, 29. The Memphis Police Department conducted an internal investigation into the arrest of Nichols, who died three days later, and the discipline came after the probe's conclusion, authorities said.

The US Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation also is looking into the force used in the arrest.

Nichols’ family, along with protesters who have rallied at a police station and the National Civil Rights Museum, have pushed for the release of police body camera footage and have called for officers to be charged.

Relatives have accused police of beating Nichols, who was Black, and causing him to have a heart attack. Authorities have said that Nichols experienced a medical emergency.

Five Memphis police officers have been fired in connection with the death of Tyre Nichols. Clockwise from left: Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr, Tadarrius Bean and Demetrius Haley
Five Memphis police officers have been fired in connection with the death of Tyre Nichols. Clockwise from left: Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr, Tadarrius Bean and Demetrius Haley (Memphis Police Department via WREG)

Nichols was arrested after officers stopped him for reckless driving, police said. There was a confrontation when officers approached the driver, and he ran before he was confronted again by the pursuing officers, who arrested him, authorities said. He complained of shortness of breath and was hospitalized. Officials said a cause of death has not yet been determined.

Relatives have said that the officers who pulled over Nichols were in an unmarked vehicle — and that he experienced cardiac arrest and kidney failure from the officers beating him.

Tyre Nichols is seen in the hospital before his death after a Memphis police traffic stop
Tyre Nichols is seen in the hospital before his death after a Memphis police traffic stop (Family handout)

Memphis police chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis and Mayor Jim Strickland said Tuesday that video footage of the arrest will be released after the police department’s investigation is completed and the family can review it.

The city leaders are arranging a meeting early next week with Nichols' family, according to a joint statement from both Strickland and Davis.

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