Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died days after a "confrontation" with Memphis police, suffered “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating,” according to preliminary results of an autopsy report sought out by the family's attorneys.
Ben Crump, an attorney representing the family, said Nichols' "observed injuries are consistent with what the family and attorneys witnessed on the video of his fatal encounter with police on January 7, 2023," per CNN.
Nichols died on January 10, just three days after Memphis police officers pulled him over for alleged reckless driving. Officers chased Nichols after he "fled the scene on foot," and multiple "confrontations" followed before he was taken into custody, police said.
Nichols complained of having shortness of breath and was transported to St. Francis Hospital where he later died.
Nichols' family and attorneys viewed body camera footage of the traffic stop that led to his hospitalization and death on Monday (January 23). Antonio Romanucci, a second lawyer retained by the family, said Nichols was defenseless in the video, noting the 29-year-old was “a human piñata” as he was being beaten by Memphis police officers.
“Not only was it violent, it was savage,” Romanucci said.
Last week, the Memphis Police Department fired five officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith — in connection to the incident. Two members of the city’s fire department were also terminated following Nichols’ death.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI have opened a civil rights investigation.
Though it's unclear when the police footage of the traffic stop will be released to the public, Ravaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother, said he fled from officers because he was scared.
“Our son ran because he was scared for his life,” Wells said Monday. “He did not run because he was trying to get rid of no drugs, no guns, no any of that. He ran because he was scared for his life. And when you see the video, you will see why he was scared for his life.”
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