Federal investigation into death of Tire Nichols ‘may take a long time,’ US attorney says

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The federal civil rights investigation launched last week into the death of Tyre Nichols after a standoff with police “may take a long time,” a statement said. US Attorney Kevin Ritz on Wednesday.

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At a news conference, Ritz said he met with the Nichols family and told them “this federal civil rights investigation is going to be thorough, it’s going to be used, and will continue until we gather all the necessary facts.”

State, local and federal investigations were launched after Nichols, 29, died on January 10, three days after an encounter with Memphis police. WHBQ-TV reported.

Authorities said Nichols ran from police after being pulled over on suspicion of reckless driving, according to the news release. Police said the officers had two “controversies” with Nichols, after which he complained of shortness of breath. Authorities took him to the hospital, where he later died. WHBQ reported.

On Friday, the Memphis Police Department fired five officers involved in the arrest of Nichols, saying in a statement that they “violated numerous department policies, including the use of a lot of power, a duty to hinder, and a duty to give aid.”

An independent autopsy found Nichols died of “profuse bleeding caused by severe blunt force trauma,” WHBQ reported.

After viewing video footage taken by police of the altercation between Nichols and the officers, attorneys for the family of the 29-year-old said he was Tased, pepper-sprayed, fisted and kicked. according to WHBQ. Attorney Ben Crump compared the video to the police beating of Rodney King in 1991 in Los Angeles, saying “it’s very difficult in any case,” the news outlet reported.

“He was a human peanut for those cops,” said attorney Antonio Romanucci, according to WHBQ. “It was a continuous beating of this young man for three minutes. That’s what we saw in that video. It’s not just brutal. It was wild.”

Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, recalled Monday that Nichols was a hard worker who loved to skateboard and take pictures.

“My son didn’t deserve what he got,” she said. “My son deserves justice.”

Nichols’ mother said he was two minutes away from the house when police stopped him. He accused the police of killing his son, according to WHBQ.

“When I walked into the hospital room my son was already dead,” said RowVaughn Wells. “The (hospital), they put him on a ventilator for my comfort, I guess. But my son died on January 7.

Crump told reporters that Tire Nichols can be heard calling for his mother three times at the end of the video police showed to family members Monday.

Authorities have said they plan to release the video to the public, although it was unclear Wednesday when that release would occur. Chief Cerelyn Davis and Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy have warned that the early release of the video could compromise the ongoing investigation into the case. according to WHBQ.

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