Listen to this article here
Sign-Up for a free subscription to The Black Wall Street Times‘ daily newsletter, Black Editors’ Edition (BEE) – our curated news selections & opinions by us for you.
The family of Tyre Nichols has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Memphis, its police department, and officers involved in the brutal beating that led to his death.
According to a lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday, the family of Tyre Nichols has filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Memphis, its police department, and the individual officers involved in the brutal January beating that led to the 29-year-old’s death.
The five Memphis police officers responsible for Nichols’ beating were all charged with second-degree murder and pleaded not guilty. The Justice Department opened an investigation into the Memphis Police Department in March.
The lawsuit named the Memphis Police Department for “intentional infliction of emotional distress for lying to Nichols’ mother,” according to the family’s attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci.
In bodycam footage released by Memphis authorities, five Memphis police officers are seen brutally beating the FedEx driver for three minutes while screaming profanities at him throughout the attack.
Nichols’ family likened the brutal beating to the 1991 beating of Rodney King in their lawsuit
The five officers charged with murder were part of Memphis Police Department’s “Scorpion Unit” which stands for “Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods.” The 50-person unit was launched in October of 2021, but has attracted increasingly widespread controversy since its inception.
Former officer Demetrius Haley was driving in an unmarked car and wearing a Black hoodie when he pulled Nichols from his vehicle.
An investigation revealed that Haley also stood over Nichols as he lay slumped against a police car and took photos of him with his cell phone as officers bragged about the severity of the beating. Haley shared those photos with other officers as well as a female acquaintance.
Memphis police said they would “permanently deactivate” the Scorpion Unit after Nichols’ death.
The five Memphis police officers are facing up to 60 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.