On Monday (Jan. 23), a press conference was held by attorneys for the family of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who lost his life following a traffic stop in Memphis. Earlier in the day, the city’s police department met with Nichols’ legal team and loved ones to share video footage of the incident.
Taking to the podium, one of the attorneys, Ben Crump, likened the recorded incident to the LA assault on Rodney King in 1991. He also described the video as “violent” and “troublesome on every level.” Attorney Antonio Romanucci provided additional details from said video: “He was a human piñata for those police officers. It was an unadulterated, unabashed, nonstop beating of this young boy for three minutes.” A visibly shaken RowVaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother, spoke about her son’s tattoo of her, calling him a “beautiful soul” that “touched everyone,” even at a FedEx job where he worked for “maybe nine months.”
As previously reported by REVOLT, authorities took Nichols to the hospital following a traffic stop for reckless driving on Jan. 7. He succumbed to his injuries three days later. An official cause of death has not yet been released. The officers who were reportedly present during that traffic stop — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith — have since been terminated.
In a tweet provided by the Memphis Police Department, Chief Cerelyn Davis stated that her branch is in full cooperation with the investigation surrounding his death, which is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. She also confirmed that the public release of the aforementioned video footage would be delayed:
“Transparency remains a priority in this incident, and a premature release could adversely impact the criminal investigation and the judicial process. We are working with the District Attorney‘s Office to determine the appropriate time to release video recordings publicly.”
— Memphis Police Dept (@MEM_PoliceDept) January 23, 2023