Memphis Residents Protest Following The Death of Tyre Nichols

Following the death of 29 year old Tyre Nichols, protests erupted across Memphis and the nation.


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Protestors gather together to protest the death of Tyre Nichols in Washington DC on January 27, 2023.

Genesis Martinez Porras, A&E and News & Sports Editor

On Jan. 7, 29 year old Tyre Nichols was beaten into critical condition by officers of the Memphis Police Department. Nichols was transported to St. Francis Hospital where he died a few days later. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is handling the investigation and the five officers responsible have been relieved from duty. The FBI and Department of Justice have also opened a civil rights investigation. 

Nichols was driving to his mother’s house when he was pulled over for “reckless driving” according to a statement the Memphis Police Department posted on Twitter Jan. 8. However according to body camera footage and footage from a nearby sky camera revealed the Nichols was not recklessly driving prior to being pulled over. 

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the funeral service of Tyre Nichols. (Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean )

Nichols’s family called for an investigation of his death. The Memphis Police Department started the investigation and released the footage of what happened to Nichols on Jan. 27. The nearly hour-long body cam footage and footage from a nearby sky camera show Nichols running from officers following the traffic stop and proceeding to be chased before being tackled to the ground. The footage continues to show the officers brutally beating Nichols ignoring his cries of pain and distress. 

“I expect you to feel outraged at the disregard of basic human rights, as our police officers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video,” MPD police chief Cerelyn J. Davis said, responding to the footage release before the trial.

From left to right Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith. The Officers responsible for the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols (Memphis Police Department)

The five African American officers involved, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith have been charged with second-degree murder. A sixth officer, Preston Hempill, who is white, used his taser on Nichols and was put on leave following the release of the footage; he has yet to be terminated from his position or charged.  A seventh officer was also involved however no details about the individual have been released to the public. 

“Certainly begs the question why the white officer involved in this brutal attack was shielded and protected from the public eye, and, to date, from discipline and accountability,” Nichols family’s lawyer Ben Crump said.

Three first responders from the Memphis Fire Department have been fired after an investigation of what happened at the scene. Two sheriff deputies have also been relieved of duty with an investigation pending. 

Following the release of the footage, the family Nichols was not alone in the outrage. The people of Memphis banded together outside of city hall and the police station protesting the pre-textual stops for busted taillights and excessively loud music. 

Protestors went on to criticize the police for their brutality, adding, “We’re not done,” referring to their protests and defense of others’ rights. Protestors asked that Nichols be given the justice he deserved after being murdered by people who were supposed to be guarding him, less than 100 yards from his mother’s house.

On January 28, 2023, people assembled in New York City to remember Tyre Nichols, 29, who was violently kicked to death by police earlier that month. (Ahmed Gaber for The New York Times)