State Watch

5 Memphis police officers fired after man dies following arrest during traffic stop

Five members of the Memphis Police Department have been fired after a man died after being arrested during a traffic stop. 

The department said in a release posted on its Twitter page on Friday that it concluded its review into the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols and determined that the officers violated multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid. 

“The Memphis Police Department is committed to protecting and defending the rights of every citizen in our city,” Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said. “The egregious nature of this incident is not a reflection of the good work that our officers perform, with integrity, every day.” 

The five officers were hired by the department between 2017 and 2020, according to the release. 

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is looking into the incident that resulted in Nichols’s death, and the Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into his death. 

Officers arrested Nichols on Jan. 7 after they stopped him for alleged reckless driving. They approached him, and Nichols ran before the officers confronted him again and took him into custody, according to police.

Nichols complained that he was experiencing shortness of breath and was hospitalized. He died Jan. 10. 

Nichols’s family has said he suffered cardiac arrest and had a broken neck, among other medical issues, following the confrontation with officers, the Memphis-based CBS affiliate WREG reported.

Davis and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland (D) said on Tuesday that the video footage of Nichols’s arrest would be released after the department’s investigation was completed and Nichols’s family could review it. 

The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement on Friday that it is working with applicable agencies to determine how quickly it can release the footage of the incident and will do so “as soon as we can.” It said it must follow applicable laws and ethical rules to not jeopardize an ongoing investigation. 

“Our office is committed to transparency and understands the reasonable request from the public to view the video footage,” it said. 

Nichols’s family has retained prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump as its legal counsel. 

“All of the available information tells us that this was the tragic and preventable death of a young man deeply beloved by his family and community,” Crump said in a statement upon being retained. 

He called on the police department to release the body camera and video surveillance footage from the traffic stop, which he said is the only way to determine how Nichols died.

Tags Ben Crump body camera footage excessive force Memphis Police Department traffic stop Tyre Nichols

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