Tire Nichols suffered ‘extensive bleeding’ from beating, family lawyers say after autopsy

The first findings in an autopsy show that Tire Nichols, who died days after a traffic stop in Memphis, was severely beaten before his death, attorneys for his family said Tuesday.

Nichols, 29, was hospitalized and died three days after he was taken into custody by Memphis, Tennessee, police officers on January 7. The Shelby County Medical Examiner’s Office has not released an official cause of death, but Nichols’ family hired a forensic pathologist to review his case.

The review’s preliminary findings found that Nichols “suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating,” according to family attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci.

They said they planned to publish more details and findings later.

More on the death of Tire Nichols in Memphis

Nichols’ family met with Memphis officials Monday to view footage of Nichols’ traffic stop, which Romanucci described as a “blatant and relentless beating.”

The pathologist found that Nichols’ injuries were “consistent with what the family and attorneys witnessed on video of his fatal encounter with police,” the attorneys said.

RowVaughn Wells, mother of Tire Nichols, cries as Tire’s stepfather, Rodney Wells, comforts her, at a news conference with civil rights attorney Ben Crump in Memphis, Tennessee, Monday. Gerald Herbert/AP

A spokesman for the city of Memphis did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said he expected video of the case to be released to the public “this week or next.”

Memphis officials have not released a detailed account of what happened during Nichols’ stop. The case is being investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department, which has opened a civil rights investigation into the arrest.

Police said in an initial statement that Nichols had been arrested on January 7 for reckless driving and hit-and-run and that a “standoff” ensued as officers tried to stop him.

Nichols complained of having difficulty breathing and was taken to the hospital in critical condition, police said.

Nichols tire.
Nichols tire.courtesy family

A photo provided by her stepfather, Rodney Wells, showed Nichols in the hospital with blood on her face and what appeared to be a swollen eye. His mother said Monday that he was placed on a “breathing machine.”

Five officers involved in the traffic stop were fired last week after an administrative investigation found they violated department policies, Police Chief CJ Davis said in a statement.

On Monday, Memphis Fire Department spokesperson Qwanesha Ward said two fire department personnel involved in the initial care of the Nichols patient had been “relieved of duty” amid an internal investigation.

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