The tragic death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of Memphis police officers has sparked outrage and calls for justice from his family, community members, and local officials. Nichols was beaten to death following a routine traffic stop and five officers have been charged with second-degree murder.
However, new details on the investigation have only added fuel to the fire. Lt. DeWayne Smith, the police supervisor on scene during the incident, retired with benefits the day before a hearing to fire him. Smith was identified as the officer who “cowardly sidestepped the consequences of his actions,” according to Nichols’ family’s attorney, Ben Crump.
Memphis City Council members are also upset with the situation, with Vice-Chairman JB Smiley Jr. stating that it’s unfair for the retired officer to keep his pension and other benefits while Nichols’ parents are paying for his actions.
Furthermore, decertification documents reveal even more concerning details about Smith’s actions that night. He heard Nichols say “I can’t breathe” but failed to provide medical care, and he also falsely claimed that Nichols was driving under the influence without evidence.
The U.S. Department of Justice is currently reviewing the Memphis Police Department’s policies on the use of force and de-escalation strategies in response to Nichols’ death. President Biden also directly addressed Nichols’ family during the 2023 State of the Union.
The community desires transparency and accountability from law enforcement officials to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again in the future. Hopefully, justice will be served for Tyre Nichols and his loved ones.