5 Memphis Police Officers Charged With Murder
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The five Memphis police officers terminated in connection with the violent death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols have been arrested and charged with second-degree murder, official oppression, aggravated assault and official misconduct, according to multiple reports.

Key Facts

Tyre Nichols, 29, died of excessive blood loss on January 10, three days after two confrontations with Memphis police following a traffic stop for reckless driving.

Following a private viewing of the body-cam footage Monday, Nichols’ family held a press conference and described footage of Nichols’ being kicked, tased and pepper-sprayed.

The family and their attorneys, including Tony Romonucci (who secured the settlement for George Floyd’s family) also announced the results of an independent autopsy, which found Nichols died of excessive bleeding following a severe beating.

CNN reports charges will be announced against involved officers at the Shelby County District Attorney’s press conference on Thursday.

Five officers were fired on January 20 after investigations by the police department, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Shelby County District Attorney’s Office and FBI found them “directly responsible” for Nichols fatal injuries.

Action News Five reported two Memphis Fire Department employees involved in Nichols’ initial care were temporarily removed from duty Wednesday pending an internal investigation.

Nichols, who leaves behind a four-year-old son, is described as a talented skateboarder who was passionate about computers and photography.

At the family press-conference, Nichols’ step-father asked all protests to be peaceful.

A public funeral for Nichols is scheduled for February 1, with a eulogy to be delivered by Al Sharpton.

What We Don’t Know

Few details about Nichols’ death have been released from government sources. We know that an initial stop occurred, at which point Tyre allegedly fled and was apprehended a second time. But we do not know why five officers became involved in a routine traffic stop, or what roles each played in his death. We do not know what, if anything, triggered the violence. No information has been released regarding investigations into medical personnel and their potential role in Nichols death. We also don’t know what criminal charges could be levied against the officers or medical personnel involved.

What To Watch For

Shelby County District Attorney will give a press conference regarding the investigation at 2 p.m. EST. CNN reports that “a source close to the investigation” says the announcement will include the announcement of criminal charges. The same source reports that the body-cam footage will be released Friday. Once the video is released, watch for protests in Memphis. Also keep an eye out for the results of the fire department’s investigation into medical personnel.

Key Background

Nichols’ death falls within an ongoing conversation about police brutality, especially toward Black people, most recently following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020, among others. All five officers fired in connection with Nichols’ death are African-American, which has caused Memphis citizens to grapple with police brutality when racism isn’t an obvious factor.

Crucial Quote:

“What I have come to learn from doing this civil rights work against excessive force policing is that it is not the race of the police officer that is the determinable factor of the amount of excessive force that will be exerted—it is the race of the citizen. So we have to have accountability no matter who tramples on the constitutional rights of our citizens,” says Nichols’ family lawyer Ben Crump.

Further Reading:

Independent autopsy finds Tyre Nichols suffered “excessive bleeding” after encounter with police, family lawyers say (CBS)

What we know about the Memphis Police officers fired after Tyre Nichols’ death (Fox 13 Memphis)

District Attorney to hold 2 p.m. press conference with update on Tyre Nichols investigation (Action News Five)

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