Family of Man Who Died After 'Savage' Encounter with Memphis Police Say He Called Out for Mom During Beating

Five police officers and two firefighters were terminated following a Jan. 7 traffic stop of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Adrian Sainz/AP/Shutterstock (13721810a) Portrait of Tyre Nichols is displayed at a memorial service for him on in Memphis, Tenn. Nichols was killed during a traffic stop with Memphis Police on Jan. 7 Police Force Investigation, Memphis, United States - 17 Jan 2023
Tyre Nichols. Photo: Adrian Sainz/AP/Shutterstock

Two Memphis firefighters involved in the "initial patient care" of a Black driver, who died three days after a Jan. 7 traffic stop that allegedly turned violent, were "relieved of duty" from their jobs, multiple outlets report. No additional details have been provided.

The driver in the traffic stop, Tyre Nichols, was pulled over for alleged reckless driving on Jan. 7 around 8:30 pm. In a statement, Memphis police said a "confrontation occurred" as officers tried to approach Nichols' vehicle, and he reportedly fled on foot. Nichols was 6'3" and about 140 pounds, according to his family's lawyers.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock (13731677e) This image provided by the Memphis Police Department shows officer Desmond Mills, Jr. Memphis is city on edge ahead of the possible release of video footage of a Black man's violent arrest that has led to three separate law enforcement investigations and the firings of five police officers after he died in a hospital. Relatives of Tyre Nichols are scheduled to meet with city officials to view video footage of his Jan. 7 arrest Police-Force Investigation, Memphis, United States - 23 Jan 2023
Desmond Mills Jr. Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock

Officers pursued Nichols, 29, on foot, but "another confrontation occurred," police said. Officers eventually arrested him and Nichols began to complain about being short of breath. An ambulance transported Nichols to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition. He died three days later, and an image of him in the hospital appears to show his face bruised and bloodied.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock (13731677d) This image provided by the Memphis Police Department shows officer Demetrius Haley. Memphis is city on edge ahead of the possible release of video footage of a Black man's violent arrest that has led to three separate law enforcement investigations and the firings of five police officers after he died in a hospital. Relatives of Tyre Nichols are scheduled to meet with city officials to view video footage of his Jan. 7 arrest Police-Force Investigation, Memphis, United States - 23 Jan 2023
Demetrius Haley. Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock

Nichols' family recently viewed the body camera footage of his arrest for the first time, multiple outlets report, and they allege the clip shows officers savagely beating, restraining, and tasing him.

At a press conference at Mt. Olive Cathedral CME Church in Memphis, the driver's stepfather said, "Our son ran because he was scared for his life."

"…I don't care what color — black, white, pink, purple, should [never] go through this," Nichols' mother, Ravaughn Wells, said at the conference. "My son didn't do no drug[s], didn't carry no guns, he didn't like confrontation, none of that, that's why this is so hard."

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock (13731677c) This image provided by the Memphis Police Department shows officer Emmitt Martin III. Memphis is city on edge ahead of the possible release of video footage of a Black man's violent arrest that has led to three separate law enforcement investigations and the firings of five police officers after he died in a hospital. Relatives of Tyre Nichols are scheduled to meet with city officials to view video footage of his Jan. 7 arrest Police-Force Investigation, Memphis, United States - 23 Jan 2023
Emmitt Martin III. Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock

At the conference, Wells described her son as "damn near" perfect, calling him a "beautiful soul" who had her name tattooed on his arm. The family also said he loved photography, skateboarding, and computers, per CNN.

The family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, said the video of the arrest -- which has not been publicly released as of yet — "reminded us of the [1991 LAPD] Rodney King video," calling it "deplorable" and "heinous, violent … troublesome on every level."

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Crump's co-counsel, Antonio Romanucci, described the video's contents as "an unadulterated, unabashed nonstop beating of this young boy for three minutes," calling it "savage" and excessive. Crump said Nichols cried out for his mother several times during the three-minute incident.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock (13731677b) This image provided by the Memphis Police Department shows officer Tadarrius Bean. Memphis is city on edge ahead of the possible release of video footage of a Black man's violent arrest that has led to three separate law enforcement investigations and the firings of five police officers after he died in a hospital. Relatives of Tyre Nichols are scheduled to meet with city officials to view video footage of his Jan. 7 arrest Police-Force Investigation, Memphis, United States - 23 Jan 2023
Tadarrius Bean. Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock

The five officers involved in Nichols' arrest — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — have been terminated from their jobs in the aftermath of the incident.

Speaking about the decision to terminate them, Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said in a statement: "After a thorough review of the circumstances … we have determined that five Memphis Police Department officers violated multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid."

Davis also said the department is working with the district attorney's office and will eventually release the video of the traffic stop to the public.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock (13731677a) This image provided by the Memphis Police Department shows officer Justin Smith. Memphis is city on edge ahead of the possible release of video footage of a Black man's violent arrest that has led to three separate law enforcement investigations and the firings of five police officers after he died in a hospital. Relatives of Tyre Nichols are scheduled to meet with city officials to view video footage of his Jan. 7 arrest Police-Force Investigation, Memphis, United States - 23 Jan 2023
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock (13731677a) This image provided by the Memphis Police Department shows officer Justin Smith. Memphis is city on edge ahead of the possible release of video footage of a Black man's violent arrest that has led to three separate law enforcement investigations and the firings of five police officers after he died in a hospital. Relatives of Tyre Nichols are scheduled to meet with city officials to view video footage of his Jan. 7 arrest Police-Force Investigation, Memphis, United States - 23 Jan 2023. Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock

"We understand and agree that transparency around the events surrounding the death of Mr. Tyre Nichols is critically important, especially the release of the video footage," Mayor Jim Strickland and Chief CJ Davis said in a Jan. 17 statement, noting that the video will be released "after the completion of the internal investigation into the actions of the officers and after the family of Mr. Nichols has had the opportunity to review the video privately."

When asked about potential charges against the five officers, the Shelby County District Attorney's Office's Director of Communications Erica Williams told CNN that "charges, if any, could be announced later this week."

In the meantime, Nichols' family is pushing for justice, and hopes murder charges will be levied against the involved officers. "Where is the humanity? [They] just beat him like a dog in the street," Wells said.

"All my son was trying to do was get home. He was two minutes from the house when they stopped him. He was less than 80 yards away," she continued.

The investigation continues.

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