Timeline of investigation into Tyre Nichols' death should be the "blueprint," civil rights attorney says
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump has been a part of some high-profile civil rights cases like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd — but he says the investigation and action Memphis took in the wake of the death of Tyre Nichols should be how all cases involving police brutality are handled.
Crump represents the family of Nichols, whose death earlier this month has led to nationwide outrage and protests.
In the days after the 29-year-old Black man's death, the Memphis Police Department, along with other agencies, launched an internal investigation. Nichols' family called for justice and demanded the release of body camera and surveillance footage of his arrests.
Within 20 days of Nichols' death — and following that internal investigation — five officers were fired and charged in connection to Nichols' death.
Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith have each been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, official misconduct and other offenses. Lawyers for Martin and Mills said their clients will plead not guilty.
Crump believes that the timeline of the investigation should be the "blueprint going forward" for all cases involving police brutality.
"You can't tell us anymore that it takes six months, or it takes a year, he told "CBS Mornings."
"The police chief said it was important that the community saw swift action and that they moved swiftly to justice. So our community say, when White police officers kill us too, then we want to say it's important to the community also," Crump said.
Police body cameras and street surveillance cameras were released on Friday by the Memphis Police Department and showed the brutal encounter that stemmed from a traffic stop.
Crump said that the video also shows other members of law enforcement and the Memphis Fire Department should be "held accountable" as well after failing to intervene to help Nichols.
"You see Tyre Nichols clearly after he's been [pummeled] he's been kicked, he's been punched, he's been hit with police sticks and he's there handcuffed, moaning on the ground and everyone's walking around nonchalantly like it is business as usual so it should be accountability for everybody on the video," Crump said.
According to a department statement, two Memphis Fire Department personnel have been temporarily "relieved of duty" in connection to the incident while an internal investigation is conducted.
Following the release of the video on Friday, Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. announced that two deputies who had responded to the scene of Nichols' arrest had been "relieved of duty."
Bonner said that an "internal investigation" has been launched to determine if the deputies violated any policies.
Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, has called on peaceful protests in the wake of the video's release. Crump said that she's using faith to help guide her and her family during this difficult time.
"She has to believe, because that's the only thing helping her cope with the death of her son — she believes ... there has to be something good that comes from this tragedy," Crump said.
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