Tyre Nichols had ‘extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating,’ according to preliminary autopsy commissioned by family


Tyre Nichols, a black man who died two weeks ago after a confrontation with Memphis police, suffered “extensive bleeding from blunt force trauma,” according to preliminary results of an autopsy commissioned by his family’s attorney.

“Preliminary findings indicate that Tire suffered extensive bleeding from the blunt force trauma, and we can say that his observed injuries were witnessed by family and lawyers on video of his fatal encounter with police on January 7, 2023,” attorney Benjamin Crump said in a statement. statement.

CNN has asked Crump for a copy of the autopsy commissioned by the family, but he said the full report is not yet ready. Authorities have not released Nichols’ autopsy.

According to a police statement, Nichols, 29, was pulled over by Memphis officers on Jan. 7 for reckless driving.

As officers approached the vehicle, a “collision” occurred and Nichols fled on foot, police said. Officers chased him down and they had another “altercation” before they were taken into custody, police said. Nichols later complained of shortness of breath, was taken to a local hospital in critical condition and died three days later, police said.

Officials have not publicly released video of the arrest. However, the family’s lawyer, who witnessed it on Monday, described it as a brutal police beating that lasted three minutes. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump said Nicholas was tased, pepper-sprayed and restrained, and compared it to the 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police.

The Memphis Police Department has fired five officers, all of whom are black, for violating policies on use of excessive force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid. Department said.

“The extraordinary nature of this incident does not reflect the excellent work that our officers perform with integrity every day,” Chief Cerelin Davis said at the time.

In addition, two personnel of the city’s fire brigade have been dismissed. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced investigation The US Department of Justice and the FBI have opened a civil rights investigation into Nichols’ death.

The U.S. attorney overseeing the federal civil rights investigation said Wednesday that he had met with the Nichols family earlier this week and pledged that his investigation into the case would be “thorough” and “methodical.”

“Our federal investigation may take some time, as these matters often do, but we will be diligent and make decisions based on the facts and the law,” said Kevin Ritz, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.

Nichols worked with his father at FedEx for about nine months, his family said. He had a penchant for Starbucks, skateboarding and photographing sunsets at Shelby Farms Park, and he had his mother’s name tattooed on his arm. He had Crohn’s disease, a digestive problem, and was a slim 140 to 145 pounds despite his six-foot-three-inch height, his mother said.

Nicholas’ death on Jan. 10 follows a number of recent, high-profile cases involving police use of excessive force against members of the public, particularly young black men. Crump has previously represented the families of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Bronna Taylor.

Civil rights figure and President of National Action Network (NAN) Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement that he will deliver a eulogy for Nichols at his funeral in Memphis next week.

Family members and supporters hold a photograph of Tyree Nichols during a news conference in Memphis, Tennessee, on Monday.

Family and lawyers watched footage of the incident Monday and said they were disturbed by what it showed.

“He was defenseless the whole time. He was a human piñata for those police officers. It was an unadulterated, shameless, nonstop beating of this little boy for three minutes. That’s what we saw in that video,” said attorney Antonio Romanucci. “It was just violent, it was brutal.”

“What I saw on the video today was horrific,” Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather, said Monday. “No father or mother should witness what I saw today.”

Crump described the video as “appalling,” “deplorable” and “despicable.” “What did I do?” Nichols’ mother, Ravaghan Wells, said she was unable to watch the first minute of the footage after hearing Nichols ask. At the end of the footage, Nichols can be heard calling his mother three times, the lawyer said.

Nichols ran from police, his stepfather said, because he was scared.

“Our son ran because he feared for his life,” Wells said Monday. “He didn’t run because he was trying to get rid of no drugs, no gun, nothing. He ran out of fear for his life. And when you watch the video, you see why he feared for his life.

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told CNN’s Laura Coates Tuesday night that video of the incident could be released this week or next, but he wants to make sure his office has interviewed everyone involved before releasing the video. affect their statements.

“A lot of people’s questions about exactly what happened will be answered once people see the video,” Mulroy said, adding that he believes “the city will release enough footage to show the entirety of the incident from the beginning.” until the end.”

Prosecutors are trying to expedite the investigation and be able to make a determination about possible charges “in the same time frame that we are contemplating the release of the video,” Mulroy said.

Pictured above, from left, are former officers Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III and Desmond Mills and, below, from left, Demetrius Haley and Tadarius Bean.

The Memphis Police Department identified the deceased officers as Tadarius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith.

The fired fire department employees were part of Nichols’ “initial patient care” and were relieved of duty “while an internal investigation is conducted,” the department’s public information officer, Quanesha Ward, told CNN’s Nadia Romero.

Asked Tuesday what those fire department employees did or didn’t do, Romanucci told CNN there were “limits” on how much he could say.

“Before EMS services arrived on scene, the fire was on scene. And they were with the tire and police officers before EMS arrived,” he said.

The Memphis Police Association, the union that represents officers, declined to comment on the termination, saying the city of Memphis and Nichols’ family “deserve a full account of the events that led to his death and what may have contributed to it.”

One of the five officers terminated after Nichols’ death was a defendant in a 2016 civil federal lawsuit in which the Shelby County Correctional Center said an inmate was beaten and violated his civil rights. The suit was later dismissed.

Demetrius Haley, a corrections officer at the time, was one of three Shelby County corrections officers brought to the restroom by the plaintiffs to search him. The suit, filed while the plaintiff was incarcerated, accused authorities of trying to flush the contraband.

According to the complaint, “Haley and McClain punched (plaintiff) in the face.” Plaintiff was first hit by a third corrections officer into the sink, then thrown to the floor, after which he “blacked out” and woke up in the medical unit, he alleged.

CNN has reached out to the attorney representing Haley in the lawsuit. CNN has reached out to the Shelby County Correctional Center for comment on Haley’s previous position.

According to court documents, Haley filed an answer to the complaint seeking to have it dismissed. Haley and another corrections officer searched the inmate after they “noticed smoke” and claimed the inmate tried to flush contraband down the toilet, but Haley denied the other claims.

Haley and another defendant later petitioned the judge to dismiss the case because the plaintiff had not exhausted his administrative remedies. That plea was granted and the case was dismissed in 2018.

Haley was hired by the Memphis Police Department in August 2020, police said.


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