Nichols, who was reportedly unarmed, was in his car and had been pulled over on Jan. 7 for a traffic stop. All of the officers involved were fired on Jan. 20. Now, Black America is calling for murder charges to be brought against the officers.
The five officers–Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith– were dismissed following an “internal investigation” which determined that they “violated multiple department policies, including excessive force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid,” Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis said in a statement.
According to Nichols’ relatives, the officers who pulled him over were in an unmarked vehicle and that he experienced cardiac arrest and kidney failure because of a beating by officers. Police reports say Nichols was arrested after officers stopped him for reckless driving. After the stop, there was a confrontation and Nichols ran before he was confronted again by the pursuing officers. After he was arrested, Nichols complained of shortness of breath and was hospitalized, CBS News reported.
Nichols’ cause of death has not yet been determined, police said.
The U.S. Justice Department has started a civil rights investigation. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation also is investigating the force used in the arrest,” PBS reported.
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Nichols’ family and others have pushed for the release of police body camera footage and called for officers to be charged.
Attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, who represent Nichols’ family, said in a statement they support the department’s decision to fire the officers.
“This is the first step towards achieving justice for Tyre and his family. They must also be held accountable for robbing this man of his life and his son of a father,” the statement said.
The attorneys added they “will continue to demand transparency and accountability” and plan to review video footage to seek additional clarity about the circumstances leading to Nichols’ death.
Many on Twitter spoke out against Nicolas’ death, some calling for the police to be charged with murder.
“Black police officers brutalizing other black citizens. Innocent black man was brutalized and murdered by five police officers black police officers all of them are fired, but they need to be charged for murder,” tweeted Don Salmon.
Others noted how swiftly the Memphis Police Department took action, compared to when white officers are involved in the death of a Black person.
“Now look how these black officers we actually fired and not suspended with paid leave but when it’s white officers with a minority they got through hell to keep them out of jail,” user AJ tweeted.
Some Twitter users pointed out the irony of Black officers killing an unarmed Black man.
“What the uncle fucking Tom is going on here. Like wtf. As if we don’t have enough Whyte police to deal w y’all out here killing us too,” tweeted Couldnt give 2 Less.
Jess tweeted, “We need to tackle antiblackness within and outside the community with the same propensity. Both acts leads to genocide.”
Nsambi agreed, tweeting, “Anointed servants henchmen of white supremacy.”
Tyre Nichols is seen in the hospital before his death after a Memphis police traffic stop (Family handout)/ Five Memphis police officers have been fired in connection with the death of Tyre Nichols. From left: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, and Justin Smith (Memphis Police Department)