Justice Department investigating Memphis man’s arrest, death

Jan 17, 2023, 11:40 PM | Updated: Jan 18, 2023, 2:50 pm
A portrait of Tyre Nichols is displayed at a memorial service for him on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023 in ...

A portrait of Tyre Nichols is displayed at a memorial service for him on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023 in Memphis, Tenn. Nichols was killed during a traffic stop with Memphis Police on Jan. 7. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)

(AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into the arrest of Tyre Nichols, who died days after a confrontation with Memphis Department Police Officers during a traffic stop, officials said Wednesday.

The U.S. attorney’s office released a statement saying the FBI’s field office in Memphis and the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department are investigating the use of force used by police during Nichols’ Jan. 7 arrest.

The arrest and death of Nichols, 29, already has sparked separate investigations by Memphis police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Nichols’ family, and protesters who have rallied at a police station and the National Civil Rights Museum, have pushed for the release of police body camera footage and have called for officers to face charges.

Relatives have accused police of beating Nichols and causing him to have a heart attack. Authorities have said Nichols, who was Black, experienced a medical emergency.

Nichols was arrested after officers stopped him for reckless driving, police said. There was a confrontation as officers approached the driver, and he ran before he was confronted again by the pursuing officers, who arrested him, authorities said. He complained of shortness of breath and was hospitalized. Officials said a cause of death has not yet been determined.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the state’s police agency, said Nichols died Jan. 10. The agency is conducting a use-of-force investigation at the request of Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy.

Relatives have said that the officers who pulled over Nichols were in an unmarked vehicle and that he experienced cardiac arrest and kidney failure because of a beating by officers.

Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said Sunday that the department was serving notice to the officers involved concerning policy violations. The statement did not indicate how many officers were involved.

Davis and Mayor Jim Strickland said Tuesday that video footage of the arrest will be released after the police department’s investigation is completed and the family can review it.

The police department’s internal investigation will be completed by the end of this week, and city leaders are arranging a meeting early next week with the family of Nichols, according to a joint statement from both Strickland and Davis.

After initially declining comment on the Justice Department’s investigation, the city of Memphis sent out a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying it will fully cooperate with the federal agencies conducting the probe. Memphis’ police department did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

At a memorial service for Nichols on Tuesday, family and friends remembered him as a joyful, lovable man who worked making boxes at FedEx, enjoyed skateboarding and regularly drank coffee and chatted with friends at Starbucks. Some of those in attendance wore T-shirts that read “Justice for Tyre,” and “Skate in Peace.”

Relatives said Nichols was from California and moved to Memphis about a year ago. He had two brothers and a sister, relatives said.

Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, said during the service that Nichols’ supporters want the officers involved in the arrest to be charged with first-degree murder.

“We’re not going down without a fight,” Wells said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of research at Google, speaks at the Google AI@ event on W...
Associated Press

Google has the next move as Microsoft embraces OpenAI buzz

Before the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT was unleashed into the world, the novelist Robin Sloan was testing a similar AI writing assistant built by researchers at Google.
9 hours ago
budgets...
Associated Press

Group’s lawsuit seeks to void Washington transportation law

A conservative legal advocacy organization is suing to halt the nearly $17 billion transportation funding bill passed by the Washington Legislature and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee last year.
9 hours ago
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin, left, and Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson attend a jo...
Associated Press

Nordic PMs: Keep calm, we still plan to join NATO together

STOCKHOLM (AP) — In a strong show of unity, the prime ministers of Finland and Sweden on Thursday called for calm amid tensions with Turkey over their applications to become NATO members and reaffirmed their intent to have the two countries join the military alliance at the same time. A series of recent demonstrations in […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

US ambassador’s views on Hungary ‘irrelevant,’ minister says

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Hungarian foreign minister accused the United States ambassador to Budapest on Thursday of trying to interfere in Hungary’s internal affairs, amid a growing diplomatic rift between the U.S. and the Central European country. At a news conference in Budapest, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto lashed out at comments in Politico this […]
1 day ago
Groundhog Club handler A.J. Dereume holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog,...
Associated Press

Beyond Phil: Other rodents that purport to ‘predict’ weather

Rodents predicting weather trends. Why? Just as fair a Groundhog Day question, though, is this: Why not? And more importantly, why should Punxsutawney Phil always get to, well, hog the press? The spring-heralding (or spring-delaying) small animal has taken firm root in some swaths of American culture. And while Phil and his Pennsylvania ilk are […]
1 day ago
Rev. Dr. J. Lawrence Turner speaks during the funeral service for Tyre Nichols at Mississippi Boule...
Associated Press

At Nichols’ funeral, Black America’s grief on public display

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The sound of the djembe drums started as a low tremble and grew more distinct as the musicians drew closer to the hundreds gathered inside the Memphis church. “We love you, Tyre,” the drummers chanted, referring to Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man whose beating by five police officers led to […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Justice Department investigating Memphis man’s arrest, death