Tyre Nichols’ magnifies the issue of police brutality

While driving home on Jan. 7 from taking pictures at a Memphis park, 29-year-old Tyre Nichols was pulled over for allegedly reckless driving. Officials voiced that as Memphis police officers approached Nichols, he immediately proceeded to run away. However, the body camera footage shows the officers physically threatening Nichols who stayed calm at first, but eventually broke free of their hold and then attempted to run.

Once the officers grabbed hold of him again, he was held to the ground by several policemen while other officers kicked at his body. The video footage caught of the incident reveals policemen beating Nichols and then repeatedly spraying him with pepper spray while he calls for his mother multiple times. After brutally attacking Nichols, the officers leaned him against a car and waited about 20 minutes before delivering aid.

Once the EMTs arrived, Nichols was found to have shortness of breath and was transported to Memphis’ St. Francis Hospital in critical condition. He passed away three days later on Jan. 10.
According to Nichols’ family, what was once the body of the light within their family, was now unrecognizable. The men involved have been identified as Preston Hemphill, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Emmitt Martin, Justin Smith and Tadarrius Bean. After the independent autopsy was released, all officers were fired and were charged with second degree murder and aggravated assault. Many hope the repercussions of these officers will lay the basis for future actions against crimes committed by police officers.

Throughout history and progressing into present day, there have been several accounts of police brutality, specifically targeted at those of the African American race. Many regarded this as a possible motive for the unjust acts of the police officers. However, it is important to note that Hemphill, Haley, Mills, Martin, Smith, and Bean are black, as was Nichols.

Protests have ensued in response to his death as many have personally connected with Tyre Nichols’ story and have taken action towards preventing future incidents. Activists can be seen throughout New York City, Atlanta, Boston, Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland embracing signs and advocating an end to police brutality.