Tyre D. Nichols, was a 29-year-old with a minor son and still was trying to “figure things out” legacy-wise when “his life was cut short” by police, said his older sister, Keyana Dixon.
Nichols died Tuesday (Jan. 10) after a traffic-stop encounter with police three days earlier near where family, friends and supporters gathered to protest and release balloons in his honor on Saturday.
“At 29 years old you haven’t had a chance to build anything yet,” Dixon said. “You’re trying to figure out how to manage your bank account, do certain things. … His memory is his legacy at this point.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is conducting a use-of-force investigation at the request of Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy, bureau officials said last week. Nichols “succumbed to his injuries” on Tuesday, the agency said without describing the nature of his injuries.
On Sunday, a day after the gathering by Nichols’ family, friends and supporters, it was announced that the Memphis Police Department was serving notice of “impending administrative actions” to the involved officers.
“After reviewing various sources of information involving this incident, I have found it is necessary to take immediate and appropriate action,” MPD Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis said in a media release.
According to the statement, which details that there is a required procedural process before government civil servant employees can be disciplined or terminated, MPD is working quickly and appropriately to through the administrative disciplinary and investigative process.
The process is projected to be complete later this week.
“Make no doubt, we take departmental violations very seriously and, while we must complete the investigation process, it is our top priority to ensure that swift justice is served,” Mayor Jim Strickland said in the release.
“We want citizens to know that we are prepared to take immediate and appropriate actions based on what the findings determine.”
Police have said Nichols was arrested after officers stopped him for reckless driving. There was a confrontation as officers approached the driver and the suspect ran before he was confronted again by pursuing officers who arrested him, authorities said.
“Afterward, the suspect complained of having a shortness of breath, at which time an ambulance was called” and Nichols was taken to a hospital in critical condition, police said.
Due to his condition, police contacted Mulroy’s office and he requested the state bureau’s investigation, authorities said.
Dixon said the death of her brother was a “murder” two blocks away from his home.
“He wouldn’t hurt nobody, he wouldn’t hurt a soul,” she said. “I don’t care what nobody say. He ran because he was scared. … Everything about it is wrong, it’s inhumane.”
A traffic stop should be a stop-and-go, Dixon said, detailing that her brother had insurance and voicing a commitment to “exposure” in pursuit of justice for Nichols.
“It’s not supposed to be this,” she said. “Running is not supposed to be a death sentence. …
“This boy ain’t never been in trouble; like never. … He always just wanted to be hisself. He never wanted to be fit inside no box. … He always wanted to be free and be him. And that’s how he lived his life.”
The officers who stopped Nichols were in an unmarked vehicle with hoodies on, family members said.
Dixon, who arrived in Memphis from California on Friday, asked, “What do you think he thought? … That’s why he ran.”
Services for Nichols are set for Tuesday, with a memorial service in California also being planned. To donate to the effort to get family members to the memorial service, click here.
(This story reflects a report by the Associated Press.)