29-year-old dies after police altercation in Memphis

Ariella Kandkhorov, Head Copy Editor

January 7 five members of the Memphis Police Department were involved in a traffic stop that resulted in the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols. They were fired on January 20 due to a violation of several department policies, including use of excessive force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid. The officers are Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith.

The officers stopped Nichols for reckless driving the day prior, and an altercation ensued. Nichols was pursued after fleeing the scene on foot. When trying to take him into custody, a second altercation took place. Nichols expressed experiencing a shortness of breath, which prompted the arrival of an ambulance. He was transported to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition. All other details about the incident have not been shared. 

A photo of Nichols in the hospital showed the man with a swollen eye and bloody face. He died in the hospital three days after the traffic stop, January 10.

The investigation surrounding the death is ongoing; both the Department of Justice and Tennessee Bureau of Investigations are involved.

The officers did not cooperate in communication efforts. Lieutenant Essica Cage-Rosario, President of the Memphis Police Association, the union representing the officers, also declined to comment on the firing. 

The family of Tyre Nichols privately viewed the body camera footage of the traffic stop January 23. A press conference took place after the viewing. The footage, along with information regarding potential charges to the officers, will be released to the public in the coming weeks.