Tyre Nichols timeline: What happened on night of brutal death (2024)

Body camera footage from the police officers who arrested Tyre Nichols is due to be released on Friday evening, with many warning that the footage is likely to cause public outrage. On Thursday, five police officers were charged with second-degree murder in relation to his death.

Initial autopsy results show that Nichols, 29, had been severely beaten, which caused extensive bleeding, according to his family's attorney, Benjamin Crump.

Five named officers—Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith—are in custody after being charged with murder, as well as aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.

The chief of the Memphis Police Department said in a video statement on Thursday that other officers are under investigation for policy violations but added that "some infractions are less egregious than others."

The incident is being separately investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Tyre Nichols timeline: What happened on night of brutal death (1)

Why was Tyre Nichols Stopped by Police?

Nichols was stopped on January 7 on suspicion of reckless driving in Memphis, according to police statements. Crump said in a press conference this week that he was returning from Shelby Farms, a large parkland east of Memphis, where he had taken photos of the sunset.

"That day, when he left around 3 o'clock," his mother, RowVaugh Wells, recounted, "he was on his way to Shelby Farms, because my son—every night—wanted to go look at the sunset; that was his passion."

The FedEx employee was pulled over just 80 yards from his home, his mother said. Earlier police statements said there was a "confrontation" with officers and Nichols fled on foot.

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Officers then pursued Nichols and attempted an arrest, which led to another confrontation before he was eventually apprehended. Crump said body cam footage showed Nichols had been shocked with a taser, pepper sprayed and restrained. Another attorney, Antonio Romanucci, said that Nichols was also kicked.

"He was a human piñata," Romanucci said after viewing the video footage of the incident. "It was an unadulterated, unabashed, non-stop beating of this young boy for three minutes."

"All my son was trying to do was come home," Wells said through tears.

After being detained, Nichols complained of having shortness of breath and was taken to hospital via ambulance "in a critical condition," police said.

When Was Tyre Nichols Killed?

Nichols died of his injuries on January 10, three days after he was stopped by police and allegedly beaten. An official cause of death has yet to be made public.

Days after Nichols' death, his family staged a protest in which they carried a sign with an image of him in a hospital on oxygen, appearing bruised.

Steve Mulroy, the Shelby County District Attorney, told a news conference on Thursday, after the charges were announced, that though the officers each played different roles in the killing, "they are all responsible."

David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said: "Let me be clear: What happened here does not at all reflect proper policing. This was wrong. This was criminal."

Tyre Nichols timeline: What happened on night of brutal death (2)

Lawyers for two of the officers, Martin and Smith, said their clients would plead not guilty. William Massey, Martin's legal representative, told the Associated Press that "no one out there that night intended for Tyre Nichols to die."

Only a few people have so far seen the video, including Nichols' family and lawyers, as well as investigators. Rausch said he found the footage "absolutely appalling."

President Joe Biden joined calls from the Nichols family for peaceful protest in response to the body cam footage.

"Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable," he wrote in a statement.

"I expect our citizens to exercise their First Amendment right to protest, to demand action and results," Davis said on Thursday. "But we need to ensure our community is safe in this process. None of this is a calling card for inciting violence or destruction on our community or against our citizens."

Later Thursday, Nichols' mother and stepfather were joined by several dozen supporters for a candlelight vigil at the Tobey Skate Park in east Memphis. Nichols was an avid skateboarder, according to Wells.

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Tyre Nichols timeline: What happened on night of brutal death (2024)
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