Updated Mar 8, 2023 - Politics & Policy

DOJ to investigate Memphis Police Department after Tyre Nichols' death

The Department of Justice seal

Photo: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Justice announced Wednesday it will investigate Memphis Police Department policies following the death of Tyre Nichols.

The big picture: The Justice Department said one probe will investigate the department's use-of-force and de-escalation policies and a separate one will review the use of specialized police units nationwide.

  • Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man​, died days after being beaten by Memphis police officers who were members of a now-disbanded specialized unit during a January traffic stop.
  • The Justice Department and the FBI Memphis Field Office are also investigating whether Nichols' civil rights were violated during the stop.
  • The review of the department came at the request of Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis and the city of Memphis, which also requested an independent, external review of the department by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

What they're saying: The Justice Department said its Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office will issue a public report on its findings and recommendations after completing its review.

  • Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said police chiefs around the country have told the Justice Department they are also reassessing their department's use and oversight of specialized units after Nichols' death.

The big picture: At least six officers involved in the traffic stop have been fired by the department. Five have also been charged with, and have pleaded not guilty to, second-degree murder and several other crimes.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional context.

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