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Family of Tyre Nichols files urgent appeal with United Nations

Vaughn Wells, mother of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, and her husband Rodney Wells, appear before reporters as members of Congress call for police reform, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. [AP Photo | Cliff Owen Row]

The family of Tyre Nichols has filed an urgent appeal to the United Nations, requesting action “regarding the torture and extrajudicial killing” of Nichols.

“Today, we filed an Urgent Appeal before the United Nations asking it to condemn the tragic killing of Tyre Nichols, to demand transparency from the police department, and to demand that Officer Preston Hemphill and all officers that participated in the incident are criminally charged,” attorneys for the family said in a statement.

“The video evidence shows that all who were involved in Tyre’s death committed reprehensible acts that require international condemnation,” they continued.

According to the United Nations, “urgent appeals” are used to seek intervention to cease the violation of loss of life, life-threatening situations or “imminent or on-going damage of a grave nature.”

The goal is to ensure state authorities intervene or prevent a human rights violation as quickly as possible.

Nichols, 29, was stopped for an alleged traffic violation on Jan. 7. Video footage of the stop showed officers approach Nichols’s car and attempt to pull him from the vehicle before they proceeded to beat him. Nichols escaped and ran from the scene, only to be caught by five police officers soon after and brutally beaten with batons, kicked and punched.

He was transported to the hospital after the beating, where he died three days later.

The five officers directly involved with beating Nichols – Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., Justin Smith, Demetrius Haley and Tadarrius Bean — have been fired and indicted on one charge of second-degree murder, one charge of aggravated assault, two charges of aggravated kidnapping, two charges of official misconduct and one charge of official oppression.

The Memphis Police Department later identified Preston Hemphill as one of the responding officers at the initial stop, and his lawyer acknowledged that some of the footage released to the public was from Hemphill’s body camera — and he was fired on Jan. 30.

The department has since said a seventh officer was relieved of duty and more are under investigation. The additional officers have not been identified.


(c) 2023, The Hill


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