Who was Tyre Nichols, the man allegedly murdered by 5 Memphis police officers?
Written by ABC Audio. All rights reserved. on January 28, 2023
(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) — Tyre Nichols, the man who died this month after an alleged beating by five police officers, was “damn near perfect,” his mother RowVaughn Wells said at a press conference on Monday.
The 29-year-old Nichols had been living in Memphis, Tennessee, with his parents since the pandemic, according to his mother. Although he lived in Memphis at the time of his death, Nichols had previously lived in California.
He had just started a job at FedEx working alongside his stepfather, Rodney Wells.
“He was very, very beloved at my job. Everybody’s calling me with blessings, prayers [and] showing sympathy for what happened,” Rodney Wells said.
“He only worked at FedEx for maybe nine months, but you should see the out pour of love and support,” RowVaughn Wells said.
The Wells’ said that Nichols was passionate about skateboarding and photography, hobbies he engaged in during his downtime on weekends.
“Photography helps me look at the world in a more creative way,” Nichols stated on his photography page. “It expresses me in ways I cannot write down for people.”
His mother recalled the morning three days before her son’s death. She said she had been preparing chicken for dinner that afternoon and planned to cook it his favorite way. At a press conference Friday, she said that Nichols was coming from Shelby Farms, a local park where he liked to go and take pictures of the sunset, on the day of his ultimately fatal encounter.
Officers pulled over Nichols that Friday due to “reckless driving,” according to Memphis police reports, and attempted to flee from the officers before being eventually arrested. He was hospitalized in critical condition after complaining of shortness of breath during the arrest. Three days later — Jan. 10 — Nichols died.
According to a preliminary independent autopsy commissioned by the family, Nichols suffered “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating.” The 6 foot, 3 inch, man also had Crohn’s disease and weighed just 145 pounds, his family and attorneys said.
“It’s just so hard for me to even fathom all of this because it’s not real to me right now. … I don’t know anything right now,” RowVaughn Wells said. “All I know is my son Tyre is not here with me anymore,” she added.
“I know everybody says they have a good son or that everybody’s son is good, but my son? He actually was a good boy,” she said.
Amid the investigation, RowVaughn Wells said she just wants people to remember her son as a “beautiful soul.”
“We will get justice for Tyre, if that’s the last breath I take,” she said.
Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith, the five Memphis police officers who were fired in connection with Nichols’ death, have each been charged with second-degree murder.
Nichols leaves behind a 4-year-old son.
Body camera footage of his alleged beating by the former officers, is set to be released Friday, and has been described as “appalling,” “deplorable,” “heinous,” “violent” and “troublesome on every level” by the attorney for the Nichols family.
ABC News’ Emily Shapiro and Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.
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