Memphis Police Release Videos of Tyre Nichols Murder: Protests Ensue

Emilia Haus, Multimedia Photo Editor

On Jan. 7, 29-year-old Tyre Nichols was driving home at 8:24 p.m. until he was stopped in traffic by five police officers for “reckless driving.” The officers were fired and charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, misconduct, official oppression and aggravated kidnapping. Nichols died in the hospital three days later from injuries obtained during the incident. Memphis Police released the footage on Jan. 27, while urging protesters to act peacefully and Memphis shops began to prepare for large protests. 

During the initial “traffic stop” the officers began by aggressively yelling at Nichols to get out of the vehicle. He got on the floor, yet the officers continued to threaten him with guns, tasers and verbal abuse. Nichols fled the location on foot, but the officers reached him and continued to physically assault him. 

The five officers repeatedly kicked, punched and brutally beat Nichols all over his body and face. They used their nightsticks on him and according to the video, once he was released and left on the floor, they pepper sprayed and tased him. This all occurred within less than 15 minutes of the initial traffic stop, with paramedics arriving at the scene at 8:41 p.m. However, 21 minutes passed until the ambulance left the scene with Nichols.

This took place within blocks from his home, where his mother RowVaughn Wells and stepfather Rodney Wells also lived. The Wells’ were alerted by police banging on their door that same night that Nichols was arrested for driving under the influence. While they were informed that he had been pepper sprayed, tased and was currently in the hospital receiving treatment, the cops refused to let them go to the hospital. At 4 a.m.,, RowVaughn received a call from the doctor alerting her as to where Nichols was. Nichols had suffered a cardiac arrest, failed kidneys and was extremely swelled.

Nationwide protests have begun as a result of the video release. Most of them have been peaceful; in Memphis, protesters are shutting down I-55 as they honor and demand justice for the life of Tyre Nichols, a devoted son, father, skateboarder and photographer.