MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — As we wait for the video footage of what happened to be released to the public, police radio traffic holds clues as to what led to the brutal arrest of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols.
You can hear some of the tense moments that ultimately led to Nichols’ death and the firing of five officers. Two Memphis firefighters were also relieved of duty while the investigation is underway.
Memphis Police say they initially pulled Nichols over for reckless driving, around 8:30 the night of January 7 at East Raines and Ross Roads. His family says he was on his way home, and the initial stop was less than half a mile from his house.
“Any other Scorpion car pull over to East Raines and Ross. We have one running on foot,” one officer was heard saying on radio traffic from Broadcastify obtained by WREG.
An officer asks for a perimeter to be set up.
“Run that tag, see the address,” an officer says.
Officers realize Nichols lives close by. It sounds as if some kind of chase has started.
“[Inaudible]… at Ross and Castlegate Lane, he’s fighting at this time.”
What happens over the course of the interactions and confrontations as described by police is sparsely documented on the radio.
“Taser was deployed as well,” one officer said.
Later a female voice says, “Fire, this is police, uh, we need ya’ll to come to East Raines and Ross. We have officers on scene. They, uh, sprayed a person.”
Radio traffic only captures portions of what officers communicate with dispatch. But there are moments of screaming and heavy breathing in the recordings.
Nichols’ family says he ran because he was terrified for his life and said in the video, he calls for his mother.
His attorneys say an independent autopsy shows Nichols suffered “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating” and his injuries are consistent with what his family witnessed in the video of the encounter.
Video of Nichols’ encounter with police will be publicly released in the next one to two weeks, attorneys said. Memphis officials say they are determining the appropriate time to release the video.