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Family of Memphis man who died after traffic stop ask police to release video footage

Family of Memphis man who died after traffic stop ask police to release video footage

The family of a Memphis, Tennessee, man who was hospitalized and died after a traffic stop by police are demanding the official release of body camera and security video of the encounter.

Tyre Nichols was taken to the hospital in critical condition after Memphis police officers stopped him for reckless driving on Jan. 7, the police department said in a statement the next day. Nichols died in the hospital three days later.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the family, is asking for police to release video from the stop, saying in a statement that “all of the available information tells us that this was the tragic and preventable death of a young man.”

Tyre Nichols.Courtesy family

“Nobody should ever die from a simple traffic stop — the footage is the only way to discern the true narrative of why and how that happened to Tyre,” Crump said.

Family members also demonstrated outside the National Civil Rights Museum with protesters Monday, holding signs with photos of Nichols. Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather, was among the relatives protesting over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, NBC affiliate WMC reported

“You shouldn’t be on a dialysis machine, press machine, looking like this because of a traffic stop,” Wells told WMC. 

Police said a “confrontation” between Nichols and the officers occurred when they approached his car on Jan. 7. He ran away, and the officers pursued, police said.

“While attempting to take the suspect into custody, another confrontation occurred; however, the suspect was ultimately apprehended,” the police department said in the statement Jan. 8. “Afterward, the suspect complained of having a shortness of breath, at which time an ambulance was called to the scene.”

Police gave no details about the confrontation. A photo provided by his stepfather showed Nichols in the hospital with blood on his face and what appeared to be a swollen eye.

Relatives of Tyre Nichols at a news conference in Memphis, Tenn., on Monday.WMC

The police department said in its initial statement that the district attorney general’s office had been contacted and that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation had been asked to investigate. The officers, who were not publicly identified, were relieved of duty pending the outcome, a routine practice.

Police Chief C.J. Davis said Sunday that the department was “serving notice” to the officers of “impending administrative actions.” The department’s statement said it expected to conclude the “administrative disciplinary and investigative process” in the next week.

“After reviewing various sources of information involving this incident, I have found that it is necessary to take immediate and appropriate action,” Davis said.

Mayor Jim Strickland told residents that the city was “prepared to take immediate and appropriate actions” once the investigation was concluded.

“Make no doubt, we take departmental violations very seriously, and while we must complete the investigation process, it is our top priority to ensure that swift justice is served,” Strickland said.

Doha Madani

Doha Madani is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News. Pronouns: she/her.

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