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DOJ Starts Civil Rights Probe In Memphis Police Traffic Stop Death

A federal civil rights investigation has been opened into the death of a 29-year-old man who died three days after being stopped by Memphis police, according to USA Today. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the Justice Department's civil rights division announced the investigation into officers involved in the traffic stop that ended with Tyre Nichols in critical condition at a hospital. Details about what happened during the Jan. 7 stop and how Nichols was injured are sparse. Police say Nichols died on Jan. 10 after two "confrontations" with officerse that left him hospitalized. A cause of death has not yet been determined. According to police, officers pulled Nichols over for reckless driving at about 8:30 p.m. "As officers approached the driver of the vehicle, a confrontation occurred and the suspect fled the scene on foot," police said. Officers attempted to take Nichols into custody when "another confrontation occurred." Police said Nichols "complained of having a shortness of breath," and an ambulance was called. Nichols was taken to the hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.

Family members said Nichols suffered injuries including brain swelling and kidney failure. He was hooked up to a dialysis machine prior to his death. An image of Nichols shared with the public shortly after his death shows him intubated, his face disfigured from a combination of significant welts and his nose bent. Blood was seen on his intubation tube and on his hospital sheets. The city of Memphis said it will release footage related to Nichols' death after the police department finishes its own internal investigation. The officers involved were placed on administrative leave. Officials said they would face "administrative action." The Nichols family retained civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, who called on Memphis police to release any body camera video captured by the officers involved. "Nobody should ever die from a simple traffic stop – the footage is the only way to discern the true narrative of why and how that happened to Tyre," Crump said on Twitter.


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