MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Video footage of Tyre Nichols ‘ arrest will be released to the public after an internal investigation into the actions of Memphis Police Department officers is completed and his family can review it, the city’s mayor and police chief said Tuesday as friends and relatives held a memorial service for Nichols.
His arrest and death have led to separate investigations by the police department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Nichols’ family, and protesters who rallied in recent days at a police station and the National Civil Rights Museum, have pushed for the release of police body camera footage and have called for officers to face charges stemming from the Jan. 7 arrest.
Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis and Mayor Jim Strickland said they anticipate that the police department’s internal investigation will be completed by the end of this week. The leaders said they are arranging a meeting early next week with the family of Nichols, 29.
“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,” they said in a joint statement.
Relatives have accused police of beating him and causing him to have a heart attack. Authorities have said Nichols, who was Black, experienced a medical emergency.
Nichols was arrested after officers stopped him for reckless driving, police said. There was a confrontation as officers approached the driver, and he ran before he was confronted again by the pursuing officers, who arrested him, authorities said. He complained of shortness of breath and was hospitalized. Officials said a cause of death has not yet been determined.
Davis said Sunday that the department was serving notice to the officers involved concerning policy violations.
“After reviewing various sources of information involving this incident, I have found that it is necessary to take immediate and appropriation action,” Davis said in a statement.
The statement did not indicate how many officers were involved.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the state’s police agency, said Nichols died Jan. 10. The agency is conducting a use-of-force investigation at the request of Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy.
Relatives told news outlets that the officers who pulled over Nichols were in an unmarked vehicle and that he experienced cardiac arrest and kidney failure because of a beating by officers. Memphis police referred questions to the bureau, which said it was still investigating.
As the probes continued, a portrait of Nichols’ life and personality was presented at a memorial service Tuesday.
Family and friends remembered Nichols as a joyful, lovable man who worked making boxes at FedEx, enjoyed skateboarding and regularly drank coffee and chatted with friends at Starbucks. Some of those in attendance wore T-shirts that read “Justice for Tyre,” and “Skate in Peace.”
The service featured a mix of tears and laughter, as friends and family told stories about Nichols. Kareem Ali, a representative of lawyer Ben Crump, who is the Nichols family’s attorney, led attendees in a chant of “Justice for Tyre.”
LaToya Yizar, who said her mother was Nichols’ godmother, called him “a happy kid, so goofy.”
“He was a good man. He did not deserve this,” Yizar told about 100 people who attended the service. “It just hurts so bad because we would have fought for him.”
Relatives said Nichols was from California and moved to Memphis about a year ago. He had two brothers and a sister, relatives said.
“This man walked into a room, and everyone loved him,” said Angelina Paxton, a friend who traveled to Memphis from California for the service,
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Rebecca Reynolds in Louisville, Kentucky; Bruce Schreiner in Frankfort, Kentucky; and John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia.