The Brutal Death of Tyrie Nichols

The Brutal Death of Tyrie Nichols

Faith Spalding, Editor-In-Chief

 A traffic stop. Almost immediate violence and use of force. A man died no more than 800 feet from his mother’s house. Tyrie Nichols died on January 10th, after a traffic stop turned into a horrific use of unwarranted force against an innocent, unarmed civilian. 

On January 7th, Mr. Nichols was pulled over during a “routine” traffic stop. Three days later, he died in the hosiptal. His cause of death was “extensive bleeding caused by severe beating,” according to preliminary autopsies issued by the families attornies. For several weeks the actual events occurring up to the point where Mr. Nichols was hospitalized reamined unclear. But on January 28th, the body camera footage from the five officers responsible for Nichols death was released, giving the full reality of the situation. 

Mr. Nichols was roughly pulled out of his car and forcred on the ground, heard saying “I didn’t do anything,” as officers yelled to taze and pepper spray him. “I’m just trying to go home,” he said. Nichols proceeded to run, after which officers chase Nichols until he is forced to the ground and beaten with a baton. What ensued was three minutes of brutal and horrific beating, with officers kicking him, punching him, pepper spraying him, and further beating him with a baton. An officer was even heard saying, “ I’m going to baton the [expeletive] out of you.” 

Nichols was left slumped and bleeding on the pavement, in need of life saving medical attention from his horrific injuries. It took 20 minutes for Mr. Nichols to recieve medical attention, even though two emergency responders were on the scene within ten minutes with medical equiptment. All five officers, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith, have been taken into custody. They each face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. But four of the five officers had posted bond and been released from custody according to court and jail records. 

What does this show about the deep systematic racism ingrained in the very systems meant to protect us? In most major cities, peaceful protestors have once again taken to the streets to deonstarte their frustration, their anger at yet another innocent life lost. Calls for police reform are continuing to mount. The officers involved were fired and charged swiftly, but it’s important to note how many white officers have not had to deal with the same consequences of the very same actions. A notable case is the 2018 shooting of an unarmed black teenager Antwon Rose, who was shot and killed by former officer Michael Rosfield at a traffic stop. Rosfield was found not guilty. It’s clear that the unjust institutions in which our nation was built on continue to exist. The worst thing about Tyrie Nichols death is that there have been so many like it, yet no systematic, substantial change. This isn’t a political issue. People are dying and there are solutions. The path to true police reform may be tedious and tricky, with politics clouding the moral compasses of the people we have elected to run our ever divisive country. Tyrie Nichols was more then a statistic. He was just trying to get home. 

Please note that none of the Patriot Staff watched the body camera footage of Mr. Nichols brutal death. All quotes and descriptions of the horrific situations came from sources that summarized the events of that transpired on Janaury 7th.