Tyre Nichols’ Life Mattered


Gerald Herbert/AP Photo

Protesters march in front of police headquarters Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn., over the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police.

Tova Thomas, Staff Writer

Tyre Nichols was driving home on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, after a day of skateboarding and watching the sunsets, a normal day for him. He was pulled over for what police said was reckless driving. Nichols was scared and began to flee from the police on foot and ended up 90 feet from his home. He was aggressively beaten by the cops, as shown in the body cam footage that was released.

After spending three days in the hospital, Nichols died from his injuries.

To understand this story, I wanted to find out who was Tyre Nichols and why was his life taken so soon, from his friends and family. Nichols was a resident of Memphis, Tennessee, with a 4-year-old son. He was an avid skateboarder and an outdoor photographer who loved to take pictures of beautiful sunset. He worked for FedEx, which is a major employer in Memphis, up until about nine months prior to his death.

Nichols’ step-grandmother, Lucille Washington, stated, “He was the one that made everyone around them happy.”

The videos that were released show five former officers, Tadarrius Bean, Demetruis Haley, Justin Smith, Emmit Martin and Desmond Mills Jr. Each officer has been charged with second degree murder, aggravated assault and two charges of aggravating kidnapping. In the videos, you can hear Nichols screaming “Mama,” and that he is just trying to get home, as he was 90 feet from his home.

The charges for the officers came after three weeks after Nichols was hospitalized, after a traffic stop and confrontation.

The police are supposed to protect the community, but since the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis resident who was brutally murdered in May of 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement continues to ask the question of if the lives of African Americans in this country really matter? It makes it hard for the community to believe that there is really good cops. Police departments around the world are prepared for possible civil unrests and are calling for peaceful protests.

Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells stated that she didn’t “want us burning or tearing up our own communities.”

As this story has put a lot of us on the edge, we have to remember that not all officers are bad, and that there are great cops in the world who do protect and serve. I just wish those five officers knew that Tyre Nichols’ life really did matter.