Tyre Nichols' family files landmark lawsuit against city of Memphis and police

Memphis, Tennessee - Tyre Nichols' family filed a lengthy federal lawsuit against the city of Memphis, its police department, the police chief, and law enforcement officers involved in the brutal January beating of Nichols after a traffic stop that resulted in his death.

Attorney Ben Crump (r) announces a $550 million lawsuit against the city of Memphis, its police department and more on behalf of the family of Tyre Nichols.
Attorney Ben Crump (r) announces a $550 million lawsuit against the city of Memphis, its police department and more on behalf of the family of Tyre Nichols.  © Collage: Screenshot/Instagram/attorneycrump/IMAGO/USA TODAY Network

Nichols died three days after he was pulled over and beaten by Memphis police officers on January 7.

The 139-page complaint that was filed on behalf of the Nichols family labels the beating as a "foreseeable product of the unconstitutional policies, practices, customs, and deliberate indifference of the City of Memphis and Chief Davis."

At a press conference on Wednesday, the family's attorney Ben Crump said the $550 million suit "is a warning sign to all these other cities who are out here terrorizing Black people in Black communities and brown people in the community because they think they have a license to do it ... We want them to know if you do this, then we're coming to your city next."

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The Nichols family's lawsuit is against the city of Memphis, its police department, Police Chief Cerelyn Davis, and the Memphis police officers involved in the beating of Tyre Nichols after the 29-year-old was pulled over and briefly chased on foot.

The lawsuit also compares the beating of Nichols to the 1955 killing of Emmett Till and describers the Memphis police officers involved as a "modern-day lynch mob," citing that the "disturbingly tragic events of the night were created and set in motion over a year prior when the Memphis City Council appointed Cerelyn Davis as the new Police Chief."

The complaint continues: "The savage beating of Tyre Nichols was the direct and foreseeable product of the unconstitutional policies, practices, customs, and deliberate indifference of the City of Memphis and Chief Davis, the City’s chief policymaker for decisions related to the Memphis Police Department."

Tyre Nichols' family's lawsuit names Memphis police department's SCORPION unit

The lawsuit names the task unit created my Memphis Police Chief Davis and Assistant Chief of Police Shawn Jones called Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods aka SCORPION, the unit which the involved officers of Nichols' beating were a part of.

The complaint refers to the since-disbanded SCORPION unit as "an officially authorized gang of inexperienced, untrained, hyper-aggressive police officers turned loose on the Memphis community without any oversight."

The officers involved in the beating of Nichols were charged with murder.

Crump said the lawsuit's $550 million amount was "intentional."

Cover photo: Collage: Screenshot/Instagram/attorneycrump/IMAGO/USA TODAY Network

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