Adrian Sainz/AP Photo
- Tyre Nichols died after he was beaten by Memphis police officers, his family’s attorneys say.
- Investigations are underway, police officers were fired, and body cam footage is due to be released.
- Here is a timeline of events as they unfolded.
Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, died three days after he was stopped at a traffic stop and beaten by Memphis police officers.
The Memphis Police Department has not released many details about the case, but Police Chief Cerelyn Davis condemned the incident as “heinous, reckless, and inhumane.”
Five officers have been charged with his murder.
Police are expected to release the body cam footage of the arrest on Friday, with Davis warning that the footage is shocking and will likely lead to public protests.
Here’s a timeline of the events, and what we know so far:
January 7, around 8:30 p.m: Nichols is stopped, arrested, and beaten
Memphis police officers tried to stop Nichols for “reckless driving” near the intersection between Raines Road and Ross Road, according to the department.
A confrontation occurred as officers approached his vehicle and Nichols ran away, police said.
There was another confrontation when officer tried to arrest him, according to the police.
Nichols then said he was experiencing shortness of breath, and an ambulance was called, with Nichols brought to a hospital in “critical condition,” according to the police statement.
January 10: Nichols dies
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that Nichols had “succumbed to his injuries.” It gave no official cause of death.
Tyre Nichols, who died in a hospital on January 10, three days after sustaining injuries during his arrest by Memphis police officers, is seen in this undated picture obtained from social media.
Facebook/Deandre Nichols/via REUTERS
January 15: Police announce first investigations
The Memphis Police Department announced that it was starting its own administrative investigation, and said that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office were also starting an independent investigation into the use of force by Memphis police officers.
January 18: DOJ and FBI announce another investigation
Kevin G. Ritz, the United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, announced that the the United States Attorney’s Office, working with the FBI and Department of Justice, has opened a civil rights investigation.
January 20: Memphis Police says five officers fired
Memphis police officers Demetrius Haley, Tadarrius Dean, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin, and Desmond Mills Jr. are facing murder charges.
Memphis Police Department
Memphis police said in a statement that five officers were fired, and that its investigation found the five men “violated multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid.”
It named the officers as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith.
January 23: Attorneys say beating lasted three minutes, with bodycam footage showing Nichols being used as a “human pinata”
After Nichols’ family and their lawyers viewed the body cam footage from his arrest, attorney Antonio Romanucci said that officers beat Nichols for three minutes.
Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather, said that “no father, mother should have to witness what I saw today.”
Wells added that the footage showed Nichols repeatedly calling out for his mother, according to The Washington Post.
Romanucci also said that Nichols was “defenseless the entire time.”
“He was a human pinata for those police officers,” he said. “It was unadulterated, unabashed, non-stop beating of this young boy for three minutes.”
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said the footage would be made public at an “appropriate time,” when it would not interfere with investigations.
Jan. 24: Family autopsy shows he suffered “extensive bleeding”
Family attorneys Crump and Romanucci told Insider that their legal team had conducted an independent autopsy of Nichols’ body.
“We can state that preliminary findings indicate Tyre suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating, and that his observed injuries are consistent with what the family and attorneys witnessed on the video of his fatal encounter with police on January 7, 2023,” they said.
RowVaughn Wells, the mother of Tyre Nichols, cries as she is comforted by Tyre’s stepfather Rodney Wells.
Gerald Herbert/AP Photo
January 25: Police chief calls the incident “heinous, reckless, and inhumane”
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis condemned the incident, while pledging that her department would cooperate with all investigations.
She said that she expects the release of the body cam footage to spark outrage and protests.
“This incident was heinous, reckless, and inhumane, and in the vein of transparency when the video is released in the coming days, you will see this for yourselves,” she said in a statement released late on Wednesday.
“I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels, I expect you to feel outrage in the disregard of basic human rights, as our police offers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video.”
January 26: Fired Memphis police officers charged with murder
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that the five officers would be charged with seven counts: Second Degree Murder, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Kidnapping with Bodily Injury, Aggravated Kidnapping in Possession of a Deadly Weapon, Official Misconduct, Official Misconduct – Refrain, and Official Oppression.
It added that all five were in custody, with investigations ongoing.
Four of the five men had been released after posting bond as of early Friday morning, CBS News reported.
January 26: Biden says Nichols’ death shows the justice system needs work
President Joe Biden posted a message on Twitter saying that he and the first lady “extend our hearts to the family of Tyre Nichols – they deserve a swift, full, and transparent investigation.”
“Tyre’s death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our justice system lives up to the promise of fairness and dignity for all.”
January 27: Police say they can’t substantiate reckless driving claim
Davis, the police chief, told CNN that the Memphis police have not been able to substantiate that Nichols was driving recklessly, which is why the officers said he was pulled over in the first place.
She again condemned the officers’ actions, saying: “I was outraged. It was incomprehensible to me. It was unconscionable… I don’t think I’ve witnessed anything of that nature my entire career.”
January 27: US prepares for protests with body cam footage due
Washington, DC, police said it had fully activated all sworn members in advance of possible protests. The San Francisco Police Department also said it was preparing for protests.
The Atlanta Police Department told CBS News that it was preparing “to support peaceful protests in our city.”
Biden and Davis previously said that they expect protests, and urged participants to keep them peaceful.