A Traffic Stop Turned Murder in Memphis


ECHO Staff

On January 7, 2023, 29-year-old Tyre Nichols was stopped by Memphis police officers who deemed him to be driving in a reckless manner. Two officers pushed him to the ground while shouting expletives (curses) at him along with threats of harm. Within minutes, one of the officers used a stun gun on Nichols who then ran from the scene.

As officers called for backup, Nichols was located and beaten for several minutes, incurring critical injuries which he would die from three days later. Initially, five officers were fired for their actions, two sheriff’s deputies were relieved from duty, and three fire department employees were also fired. The officers have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. The “Scorpion Unit” (a specialized anti-crime unit the officers were a part of) was disbanded after the events unfolded and the body cam footage was released to the public. A sixth officer (who shot his Taser at Nicols) was also fired in the days that followed and a seventh officer has been suspended.

After viewing the video footage, President Biden in a statement, called it “yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and brown Americans experience every single day.” Biden also acknowledged the tragedy during his Feb. 7 State of the Union address where he called for an increase in police accountability. 

Tyre Nichols leaves behind family and friends who remember him for his love of family, skateboarding, and photography.