Rest in Power, Tyre Nichols

Kaveh Navab, APC

- 3/14/2023

Tyre Nichols was a father. He loved photography, traveling, and skateboarding. His mother called him a “beautiful soul.” And now, Tyre Nichols is another young Black man whose life was stripped violently, unjustly, and at the hands of police officers.

On January 7, 2023, a specialized group known as the Scorpion Unit of the Memphis Police Department pulled over Nichols for “reckless driving.” Five police officers then forced him out of his car and began physically attacking him. The attack began without provocation or reason. Throughout the attack, Nichols cowered, covering his face and calling for his mother. The brutalization lasted minutes as the police officers kicked, punched, pepper sprayed, and stun gunned Nichols. Tyre died in the hospital three days later. He wasn’t even 30 years old.

We know the horrific details of Nichols’ death from body cam footage released 10 days after the attack. The actual police report of the incident was “starkly at odds” with the video, according to a New York Times article by Jessica Jaglois, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Mitch Smith. The police report, written a few hours after the incident, blamed Nichols for inciting the violence and failed to mention the severity of the police officers’ attack on Tyre.

Nichols’ death was not only shocking in its brutality, but it also reflects the severity of systemic racism and police brutality. Shortly after the world-rocking death of George Floyd in 2020, Memphis was one of many cities who implemented reforms in their police departments. The chief of the Memphis Police Department is a Black woman who has pushed for policing reforms. All five officers who beat Nichols to death, and one EMT who arrived on scene later on and failed to take action for nearly 20 minutes, are Black.

While some argue that Nichols’ death shows that police reform simply won’t work, others look past the police system, attributing the issue to the wider pandemic of systemic racism and anti-Blackness.

Our thoughts are with Nichols’ family, his young son, his mother, whose name he tattooed on his arm, and with all families affected by police brutality. Our thoughts are also with the families we represent, whose family members were stripped from them much too soon, who don’t make it in the news.


Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Jessica Jaglois, and Mitch Smith, “Initial Police Report on Tyre

Nichols Arrest Is Contradicted by Videos,”

New York Times,

January 30, 2023,

Mike Baker, Kassie Bracket, Steve Eder, Joseph Goldstein, Matthew Rosenberg, and Mark

Walker, “Muscle Cars, Balaclavas and Fists: How the Scorpions Rolled Through Memphis,”

New York Times,

February 4, 2023,

Clyde McGrady, “Tyre Nichols Beating Opens a Complex Conversation on Race and Policing,”