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A Death that Provoked a Nationwide Search for Justice

Tyre Nichols lost his life on January 10th, 2023, after being in a hospital for three days. He was in critical condition due to five police officers severally beating the black 29-year-old male on January 7th, 2023. In Memphis, Tennesse, police officers stopped Tyre for reckless driving; however, there are allegations that he was not driving recklessly. Tyre stopped his vehicle and complied with commands from the police. 


Nichols tried to run from the police, but the officers eventually caught him and responded violently. While being near his home and screaming “mom,” the officers used pepper spray, kicked him, and “beat him so badly he was unrecognizable,” Nichols’ family expressed, which is in an article in National Public Radio (NPR). 


“A confrontation occurred following a traffic stop. Nichols fled on foot, and then another confrontation occurred,” was the officers’ statement, according to Justin McDaniel and Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff, journalists for The Washington Post. These authors then said the “brutal video footage released Friday, an hour’s worth of clips from body-worn and mounted cameras showing police pepper-spraying, punching and kicking Nichols, underscores the disparity between what police first reported and what actually happened.”


The opening story of this event does not coincide with what is being said now, especially after bodycam and street camera footage were released. The officers used many forms of violence, and once Nichols was in custody, leaning against a car, they indulged in a conversation about what happened. People have said they were laughing at what happened and talking about it as if it were an accomplishment. 


Due to the event’s severity and the public’s interest, it has received national attention. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Justice Department, and the Tennesse Bureau of Investigation are all involved in this case; some have filed a civil rights investigation. 


“I’ve seen the video myself, and I will tell you I was appalled,” the Director of the FBI, Christopher Wray said. The consequences of this event have resulted in the five initial officers being fired and charged  “with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression and one count of aggravated assault.”

More individuals have been associated or involved with the case as time has passed. Three other individuals have been accused of their involvement in this case. One individual works for the Memphis Fire Department as a driver, and the other two as paramedics. 


The fire department chief, Gina Sweat, said the individuals broke many policies and did not meet the standards of the Memphis Fire Department. “Their actions or inactions on the scene that night do not meet the expectations of the Memphis Fire Department,” Sweat said. 


On February 1st, the funeral for Tyre Nichols was held in Memphis, Tennessee. Not only have friends and family paid their respect, but Vice President Kamala Harris, the family of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others have joined in celebrating the life of Tyre Nichols. Before introducing Nichol’s parents, Harris said, “and as Vice President of the United States, we demand that congress pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act… it is non-negotiable.” She also addresses Nichol’s parents and says they are extraordinary for their courage, strength, and grace.


At the funeral, one of Tyre’s brothers, Jamal Dupree, said, “he was robbed of his life,” and Harris said, “this is a family that lost their son and their brother through an act of violence at the hands and the feet of people who have been charged with keeping them safe.”


This incident has shocked many nationwide, and many continue questioning authorities and their role in society today. The division in America can be seen in cases like this. Are police officers committing crimes and misusing their power or just doing their job? Where do you fall in this quest for justice?


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Tags: America Tennessee police brutality Memphis justice for Tyre Tyre Nichols


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