The Death and Case of Tyre Nichols

Following along with the death and case of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols from Memphis Tennessee.


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29-year-old Tyre Nichols in his obituary picture from Dignity Memorial.

Courtney Weston , Communications Director

On January 7th, 2023, 29-year-old Tyre Nichols was jumped and beaten to death by five Memphis Police officers. The officers stopped Nichols due to reckless driving, said the police initially, but the evidence says otherwise. 

Over the last month, the case of Tyre Nichols has taken over the media. Many people read the headline and ignore the problem, but this incident is changing society. 

Nichols was a single father to his son and worked as a FedEx driver to bring money home until January 7th, when Nichols was pulled over less than two minutes from his house. The officers that pulled Nichols over were in four unmarked police cars. In the initial report from the officers, they said they pulled Nichols over for reckless driving and said he tried to run after they pulled him over. The officers that pulled Nichols were part of the “SCORPION Unit.” 

What is the SCORPION Unit? 

The SCORPION Unit is a team of 50 men dedicated to reducing crime in significant areas. SCORPION is an acronym for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods. The unit has seized and stopped hundreds of crimes since it was assembled in the fall of 2021 by Police Chief Cerelyn Davis. 

After the officers pull Nichols, they force him out of the car and wrestle with him; when listening to the body cam footage, you can hear Nichols saying, “I didn’t do anything.” While in the original statement, the Police Department states that Nichols had been pulled over for suspected reckless driving. After seeing the footage, the department has retracted that statement, and they have not been able to confirm precisely why Nichols was pulled. When watching the bodycam footage, you can see that Nichols cooperated and did what they were saying to the best of his abilities, as the officers constantly gave him new, and often conflicting, orders. The New York Times published an article stating that the officers gave him 71 commands in 3 minutes. 

After Nichols struggles with the unit, he begins to take off running toward his mother’s house, the unit tries to tase him, but he proceeds to ditch the cops. Less than half a mile from his mother’s house, officers attack and push Nichols to the ground and beat him as he begins to shout for his mom. 

After the cops detain Nichols on the ground, they beat him, shouting, “Give me your F****** hands” over and over again. One cop then proceeded to beat Nichols with his baton. Throughout the entire attack, the cops were impatient and ugly toward the gentleman. They took what should have been a simple stop and escalated it to something that everyone prays won’t happen to them. 

Once the officers had detained him and had Nichols handcuffed and sitting against the car, they proceeded to say that he was “high as a kite” because of his slurring speech at this time (one might guess from them beating him). The officers didn’t even take the time to get his license or registration.  

It takes over 15 minutes for first aid to be administered to Nichols. When the medics arrive, they immediately take him to St. Francis Hospital, where he will be treated until he dies about three days later. The autopsy report from the hospital revealed that Nichols had been killed from “excessive bleeding caused by severe beating.”

The five officers were charged with second-degree murder, kidnapping, and other charges. 

Since the incident, the SCORPION unit has been disbanded, and there is no plan to reactivate it. Davis, the Memphis police chief, said that the incident was “heinous, reckless, and inhumane” during a news conference. 

For Memphis, this is just one of the latest gut-wrenching events in the last couple of months. Memphis is ranked THE most dangerous city in the U.S. So what are they doing to fix this? Critics say, not much. Memphis has started a program called Operation Blue CRUSH. Operation Blue CRUSH “uses data about past crimes to identify potential and emerging “hot spots” so that it can deploy officers more effectively in the field,” says the Memphis government. It is putting video cameras everywhere and having people sit and watch behind screens to deploy backup when necessary. The Memphis police department has also encouraged citizens to join the neighborhood watch programs. The MPD also operates the Community Outreach Program (COP), which places a concentration of officers where crime is the highest. 

Overall the Case of Tyre Nichols should not go unheard of. The innocent murder of a father, son, photographer, and skater should not be pushed under the bus and labeled as “just another unfortunate act of racism.”