Civil rights attorney to view MPD body camera video in Tyre Nichols case
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Civil rights attorney Ben Crump says he will be reviewing body cam footage next week in the case of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, who died from injuries sustained during a Memphis police traffic stop on Jan. 7.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI Memphis office announced a civil rights investigation into Nichols’ death is now underway.
The Feds, his family, and the community all want to know: How did a young man who loved to skateboard and had no criminal history wind up with a broken neck after being pulled over by Memphis police?
During an emotional sit-down, a day after burying their youngest son, the family says they’re facing their new reality.
“I never thought in a million years that I would be burying my son, our son,” said Ravaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother.
And in four days, they will see the video that will show them what Memphis police did to their child during that Jan. 7 traffic stop.
“I will. I’m going to watch it,” Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, told Action News 5. “But I don’t want to put [Ravaughn] through that.”
Nichols’ mother seconded her husband’s statement, saying, “I don’t want to see somebody beating my son.”
“I really don’t want her in the room because I don’t even want her to hear it,” Rodney added.
Nichols’ stepfather says they’re not seeking answers and accountability, but change.
“I hope that from the death of my son, there will be some reform in the police department to where they stop killing these innocent kids on the streets. It’s unacceptable,” said Rodney.
The Wells and their lawyer, famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump, are scheduled to meet Monday, Jan. 23, with city and MPD leaders.
Crump says swift justice is crucial.
“They’re following what is a playbook,” Crump said. “When police kill a person unjustly, especially a Black person... normally they delay, delay, delay. But I am encouraged because Chief Davis and city officials communicated with me yesterday.”
Crump says MPD Chief CJ Davis and city officials agreed to meet with the family and Crump’s legal team to show them the video before the TBI completes its criminal investigation.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said the city’s internal investigation ended Saturday. The officers will have a hearing by Friday to determine their employment status.
Strickland commended Chief Davis’ handling of what he described as a “tragic situation.”
”She immediately called for the TBI to investigate. She immediately started the employment review,” he said. “The employment review is happening quicker and in a more transparent way than it’s ever been handled before.”
That’s little consolation for a family shattered, as a heartbroken mother and father look for justice for Nichols.
”Any kid could be put in this situation,” said Rodney. “You don’t have to be a gangster or a gang banger or a car thief or anything like that to be put in this situation, which is horrible.”
Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said he supports releasing the video as long as it does not interfere with the TBI investigation or possible prosecution.
With the world hashtagging Justice for Brionna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and others, Crump hopes the world also stands in solidarity for Nichols as well.
Meanwhile, Nichols’ parents are bracing for what they will see in the video.
“At the end of the day, I don’t care what anyone says about my son. All his game is going to outshine everything,” said Ravaughn.
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