MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The family of Tyre Nichols' journey for justice took a somber turn Tuesday afternoon at the 29-year-old’s memorial service. It’s been just a week since Nichols passed away, after a confrontation during a traffic stop by Memphis Police left him complaining of shortness of breath.
Family members, friends, co-workers, coffee shop acquaintances and supporters, all gathered Tuesday to help each other through an emotional time for them.
“He was one of those people who made everyone around them happy,” said Lucille Washington, Tyre’s Step-Grandmother.
It’s just one of the many ways Nichols was described by his family and friends.
“Tyre has the support of his family, his work, his community,” said Rodney Wells, Tyre’s Stepfather.
Throughout the service, several shared their memories of Nichols and the joy he brought to their lives.
Angelina Paxton met Nichols back in California and had been friends with him for 15 years, and did not let the ongoing weather issues in the state prevent her from saying goodbye.
“I mean, there are thousands of people that loved this man,” said Paxton, “This has happened too many times, and this could have been any of us.”
At the service, the family and those supporting them reiterated their demands to have those who took Nichols away from them to be brought to justice.
“We are not going down without a fight. We need justice, we need MPD charged with [first degree murder], no involuntary manslaughter, none of that,” said Wells.
Among the other requests include the release of the police body cam footage from before, during and after the traffic stop. While the community waits with bated breath, city officials are responding.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and MPD Chief CJ Davis said in a statement:
“We understand and agree that transparency around the events surrounding the death of Mr. Tyre Nichols is critically important, especially the release of the video footage. Because this is an open investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), MPD has reached out to TBI and the Shelby County District Attorney, Steve Mulroy.
The video will be released publicly after the completion of the internal investigation into the actions of the officers and after the family of Mr. Nichols has had the opportunity to review the video privately.
We anticipate that MPD’s internal investigation will be completed by the end of this week. The City has spoken with Ben Crump, attorney for the family of Mr. Nichols, and we are arranging a meeting with them early next week.”
Shortly after the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office released its own statement saying:
“Our office is committed to transparency and understands the reasonable request from the public to view the video footage. However, we must ensure we abide by applicable laws and ethical rules so that we do not jeopardize an ongoing investigation or prosecution. We’re working with the appropriate agencies to determine how quickly we can release the video, and will do so as soon as we can. We’ll be sure to update the public throughout this process.”
A press conference is being planned with the Ben Crump Law Firm on Monday.