MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – tyre nichols ‘ Mother was just step away from your son But could not hear her painful screams.
beaten and broken, struggling to survive, Nichols called her Five Memphis Police Department officers On January 7, he was punched, kicked and batoned after a traffic stop.
Nichols, 29, who lives with his mother and stepfather, had slipped from police custody when he was pulled over, dragged from his car and hit with a stun gun. Caught minutes later near his home and severely beaten by five officers, he shouted, “Mother! Mother!”
Moments later, police knocked on the mother’s door, but not to alert Rowan Wells that her child had been badly beaten, according to Rodney Wells, her husband and Nichols’ stepfather. He said Nichols has been arrested for driving under the influence and is being taken to the hospital. The police said that they could not go to the hospital as their son was under arrest.
So he waited.
Memphis Police Director Cerlan “CJ” Davis, a mother herself, didn’t even know until later what her officers had done to Nichols. Many will have noted the lack of police observers at the scene following Nichols’ death on January 10.
the fact that no one felt compelled to fill him in until the next day the culture of his department He would have to answer in the days to come, as she herself was asking him.
Davis told The Associated Press in an interview on January 27, “There were failures as to who should have provided assistance, who should have informed, who went to the mother’s home, how she communicated.” “Why was the information given to the chief at 4 in the morning and the incident took place last night at 8?”
Rodney Wells said that at around 4 a.m. the same time Rowan Wells received a call from a doctor at the hospital where he had been taken. The doctor asked him to reach the hospital immediately.
When she got there, she found Nichols on life support. When Wells first saw her son’s dismembered corpse, Davis’ police department was scrambling for damage control.
The coming hours and days in Memphis will set the tone for America’s latest reckoning on police brutality, with Rowan Wells and Cerelin Davis on opposite sides of the same tragedy. Their lives would change in dramatically different ways.
Wells and his family wept, wept and mourned for Tyr Nichols, the joyous skateboarder and amateur photographer who moved to Memphis from California nearly a year ago. She ultimately held on to hope that her son’s fate might mean something, as it did in a long line of young black men killed at the hands of police.
Davis, the first black woman to run the Memphis Police Department, faced heavy criticism. As he and other city officials came to grips with what had happened, he gradually took steps to hold officers accountable, shared the enormity of the matter with the public, and tried to minimize the possibility that the incident could lead to unrest in Memphis and beyond.
But she will be called out explicitly at Nichols’s funeral as a beneficiary of the progress the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was in Memphis to fight when he was shot more than half a century ago.
At 6:03 a.m. on January 8, the police department posted a vague statement on social media saying that Nichols had had two “confrontations” with police. The statement added that he “complained of having shortness of breath, at which time an ambulance was called to the scene.”
Wells knew better by then. He saw her bruised, swollen, chained to machines.
The Memphis Fire Department later revealed that 27 minutes passed from the time emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene to the time an ambulance took him to the hospital.
“When I got into that hospital room, my son was already dead,” Wells said during a January 23 news conference.
Doubts about the police department’s initial account only grew. The picture of the punctured tire in the hospital went viral in the media. Activists questioned the department’s account and pushed for the release of the arrest video.
Nichols’ family hired attorney Ben Crump, known for representing the families of others killed by police, including George Floyd. Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police in 2020 sparked nationwide protests and calls for police reform.
Wells wept during a January 17 memorial service for her son but did not speak publicly afterwards.
Gradually a more complete portrait of Nichols emerged. He lived with his mother and stepfather and made boxes with Rodney Wells at FedEx. He had two brothers, a sister and a 4 year old son. He was an amateur photographer who loved sunsets and skateboarding.
Sor had his mother’s name tattooed on his arm.
“This guy walked into a room, and everyone loved him,” said Angelina Paxton, a friend who traveled from California for the service.
That same day, Memphis officials pledged to release video of the attack.
The five officers were dismissed on 20 January after an internal police investigation found breaches of police rules, including excessive use of force, and failure to intervene and provide assistance.
In a statement, Davis called his actions “egregious”.
The family met with officials to watch the video — horrifying footage Rowan Wells said she was unable to watch at that meeting. Later, he warned parents not to show it to their children.
Wells stated that she was inside her home at the time of the beating, waiting for Tyree to come home and “Hello parents!”
“For a mother to know that her child was calling her in their need, and I wasn’t there for them, do you know how I feel right now?” Wells told the media during a Jan. 27 news conference.
“I wasn’t there for my son. I was telling someone I had severe stomach pains at first, not knowing what had happened,” she said. “But once I found out what happened, So it was my son’s pain that I was feeling.”
He also shared how a normal day had turned terrifying.
She said that on the day of her arrest, Tyer had seen her take out some chicken before leaving home around 3 p.m. to take pictures of the sunset in a suburban park.
“She said, ‘Mom, are you making chicken tonight?’ I said yes.”
He said, “How are you cooking it?”
With sesame seeds.
In a video statement released late on January 25, Davis said she had met with the Nichols family and offered her condolences. He promised to continue investigating the other officers’ actions.
“I’m a mother, I’m a caring human being who wants the best for all of us,” Davis said. “It’s not just a professional failing. It’s a failure of basic humanity.”
Officers Taddeus Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith were charged the next day – 19 days after Nichols’ arrest. Crump said it’s long overdue to have a “blueprint” for other police agencies to deal with similar situations.
When asked about the allegations, Rodney Wells told the AP that the family was “okay with it”.
He also said that his wife thought Davis was doing an “excellent” job.
Friday, January, 27th was the day Memphis and the country waited for the video to be released.
Hours before the city posted it, Davis told the AP that the footage failed to show what still remains a mystery — why Nichols was stopped in the first place.
When the video began, he said, “at about 10 o’clock the officers were already excited.” Crime-suppression team members were called scorpion unit “were aggressive, loud, using profane language and probably intimidated Mr Nicholls from the start,”
“We don’t know what happened,” Davis said. “We all know the amount of force applied in this situation was over the top.”
Rodney Wells, Davis and community leaders called for the protests to be peaceful out of respect for King’s belief in nonviolent action.
Protesters blocked an interstate bridge, but there was no violence. No property damage. No arrest.
Davis disbanded the Scorpion Unit on January 28 after “listening carefully” to the Nichols family, community leaders and other team officials.
Crump said the Nichols family considered the move “appropriate and proportional to the tragic death of Tire Nichols”.
He also called it “a decent and just decision for all the citizens of Memphis”.
Tyr Nichols was laid to rest on 1 February. The funeral at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, delayed due to icy weather, included a rousing choir, a eulogy by the Rev. Al Sharpton, and a visit from Vice President Kamala Harris.
Also present were Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean, Jalen Randle and relatives of Floyd – the black man who was gunned down by police.
Harris praised Nichols’ parents for their extraordinary strength, courage and grace.
In his eulogy, Sharpton said he had taken his daughter Ashley that morning to the site of the former Lorraine Motel, a black-owned business where King was shot on April 4, 1968. The motel is now the National Civil Rights Museum.
Sharpton noted that the civil rights movement led by King opened doors for black city workers in Memphis and elsewhere and that five black officers beat Tyre to death.
Sharpton called on the officers and Davis, reminding them of those who marched, went to jail, and died fighting for racial equality.
“You didn’t come to the police department on your own. The police chief didn’t come there on his own,” he said.
Despite his grief, Rowan Wells also spoke up. Speaking from a lectern in the large church, she wiped away tears and said she believed her son was “sent here on a mission from God.”
“And I think his job is done now. He’s been taken home.
Someone in the audience shouted that Nichols was going to change the world.
“Yes,” said his mother, nodding her head. “Yes.”
And then, once again, he praised Davis for acting swiftly.
For more coverage of the beating death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police officers, visit https://apnews.com/hub/tyre-nichols.