MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The family of a man who died following an encounter with Memphis Police is speaking out in hopes of seeking justice.
Tyre Nichols died earlier this week after what is being called a “confrontation” with Memphis Police.
Jamicka Hill says her 29-year-old cousin was left unrecognizable from a brutal beating.
“Oh, my god. I can’t even. It’s like they mutilated him,” said Hill. “Beyond Emmett Till. His head was that swollen. It was as wide as the hospital bed. To me, it looked like a monster, like a scary monster.”
On Saturday, Memphis Police say there was a confrontation when officers tried to pull over Nichols for reckless driving in the area of Raines and Ross. After he was detained, police say he complained of shortness of breath. Days later, Nichols died at St. Francis Hospital.
“He was a brilliant kid, you know. He d**n sure was not involved in no police activity or no violence,” said Hill.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was called in to conduct a use-of-force investigation.
Hill, who lives in California, says Nichols had moved to Memphis from the Golden State more than a decade ago. She describes him as a dedicated father and skateboard advocate.
“Tyre is a goofball. You want to say nerd, you want to say geek, you can say that, but he’s a people person,” said Hill.
She says his death has left her family feeling helpless and asking why.
“His bones, from his wrist from them beating them with the cuffs on, you could see his bones coming out of his skin. His whole body was bloody,” Hill said.
Now awaiting justice, Nichols’ family wants those responsible held accountable. “People need to see what Memphis Police did because it’s unacceptable,” she said.
MPD says the officers involved in this case have been placed on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
WREG is told that a celebration of life will be held for Nichols next week.