The Life and Homegoing of Tyre Nichols [Updated]

The Life and Homegoing of Tyre Nichols [Updated]

In our photo essay, we show that Nichols should be remembered for more than just being another victimof police brutality.

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Image for article titled The Life and Homegoing of Tyre Nichols [Updated]
Screenshot: Family of Tyre Nichols via CBS

Tyre Nichols was only 29 when he was fatally beaten by a group of Memphis police officers. Though his name was been chanted in the streets in the demand for police reform and accountability, it is easy for him to be remembered as just another police brutality victim.

There was more to Tyre than the heinous body camera video of his last moments. Let us take you through what we learned about Tyre leading up to his death and the celebration of his life as he rests in peace.

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Tyre was a family man

Tyre was a family man

Image for article titled The Life and Homegoing of Tyre Nichols [Updated]
Screenshot: CBS News (Fair Use)

Tyre was the youngest of Ms. RowVaughn Wells’ children, her baby boy. He had three older siblings. To show his love for his mother, he had her name tattooed on his arm.

“My son was a beautiful soul and he touched everyone,” said Wells in a press conference weeks ago. She said he was near perfect.

Per NBC, he came from his home in Sacramento to visit his family in Memphis. Wells said she looked forward to his greeting “Hello parents!” when he would come through the front door. The last time his mother saw him is when he was heading out to go take pictures of the sunset and stopped to ask her what she was making for dinner. Sesame seed chicken was his favorite, his mother said.

Nichols was described by his family and attorneys as a good son who was trying to be the best father to his now 4-year-old son.

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Tyre had a simple lifestyle

Tyre had a simple lifestyle

Image for article titled The Life and Homegoing of Tyre Nichols [Updated]
Screenshot: TMZ

Nichols had a basic day-to-day routine, according to his family. He would get up in the morning to spend his time with his friends at Starbucks. According to his friend Nate Spates Jr., they would talk about sports. Spates said Nichols was free-spirited and had a beautiful soul.

On Sundays, Nichols would clean his room, do laundry and prepare himself for the week, his mother said. He had begun working at FedEx nine months prior to the incident. His co-worker told NBC he took pride in his work and dedicatedly made sure the right packages were in the right boxes. After his morning Starbucks meet-up he’d take a nap and head to work. His mother would have dinner cooked so he could come home to eat and leave back out to his second shift.

If he wasn’t home for lunch, he’d be out capturing the sunset.

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Tyre had a passion for skateboarding

Tyre had a passion for skateboarding

Image for article titled The Life and Homegoing of Tyre Nichols [Updated]
Screenshot: CNN (Fair Use)

Nichols began skateboarding when he was just six years old. As he got older, he cumulated a group of friends to skate with and often spent time at the Regency Community Skate Park in Sacramento, where his siblings held a vigil for him.

A friend of his, Ryan Wilson, told CBS 13 Tyre was more than just his friend but like his brother. He recalled being ecstatic when Nichols surprised him with a visit after moving away from California. Austin Roberts and Anthony Neal Jr. also reminisced on their skating memories and the artistic way Tyre wielded a camera. Most of their skating tricks and techniques were captured on film by Tyre.

“I want people to remember that Tyre was a great person and great skater but he was more than that. He was also a father,” said Neal via CBS 13.

“He touches everybody he gets around. He was a fantastic person. That’s how I want everyone to remember him,” said Roberts.

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Tyre was an aspiring photographer

Tyre was an aspiring photographer

Image for article titled The Life and Homegoing of Tyre Nichols [Updated]
Screenshot: T Nichols Photography (Other)

Nichols’ family and friends remember him for having a way with a camera. His mother said if he wasn’t at home, he was out skating or looking for the perfect shot of the sky or the cites around the city.

His sister, Keyana Dixon, said he also had dreams of starting a graphic design company. Dixon told NBC because the wedding photographer she wanted was overcharging her, Nichols offered to take the photos himself.

“He wanted to see others happy,” Dixon said.

If you take a glance at his portfolio, you’ll be impressed by the way Nichols colorful and positive personality reflected in his work.

“My vision is to bring my viewers deep into what I am seeing through my eye and out through my lens. People have a story to tell why not capture it instead of doing the “norm” and writing it down or speaking it. I hope to one day let people see what I see and to hopefully admire my work based on the quality and ideals of my work,” reads his bio.

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Tyre “brought joy to everyone”

Tyre “brought joy to everyone”

Image for article titled The Life and Homegoing of Tyre Nichols [Updated]
Screenshot: Heshcat via Instagram

Another one of Nichols’ Sacramento friends, Dezmond Sinclair, shared this image and said it describes exactly who Tyre was. At the height of the pandemic when stress was high, he went out of his way to put a smile on someone’s face. Sinclair said Tyre protected the younger kids who came to the skate park and made everyone feel welcome.

Nichols’ childhood friend, Angelina Paxton, tells ABC 10 News, he did the same for her during their friendship.

“He used to always tell me that it’s okay to smile sometimes and that’s what he was known for. His light energy, his happiness, his joy, his just appreciation for the small things,” said Paxton.

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The violent traffic stop

The violent traffic stop

Image for article titled The Life and Homegoing of Tyre Nichols [Updated]
Photo: City of Memphis (AP)

On Jan. 7, Nichols was pulled over for an alleged DUI while on his way to take pictures of the sunset, reports say. When the Memphis police officers pulled him from his vehicle and tried to detain him, he fled down the street. He then ran into another group of officers who beat him, pepper sprayed him, tased him and kicked him in the head.

They waited 20 minutes before calling aid to tend to Nichols’ injuries.

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The aftermath

The aftermath

Image for article titled The Life and Homegoing of Tyre Nichols [Updated]
Screenshot: Family of Tyre Nichols via NBC

After Nichols was transported to the hospital, reports say he was in critical condition. Nichols’ mother said the doctors called her in the wee hours of the morning to notify her he had gone into cardiac arrest and his kidneys were failing. She said by the time she got there, she believed he was already dead. He was taken off life support Jan. 10 and pronounced dead.

His family shared the image of him in the hospital on social media and protested for answers prompting the Memphis Police Department to open an investigation.

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Private viewing of the body camera footage

Private viewing of the body camera footage

Civil rights attorney Attorney Ben Crump speaks at a news conference with RowVaughn Wells, mother of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, and his stepfather Rodney Wells, right, in Memphis, Tenn., Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.
Civil rights attorney Attorney Ben Crump speaks at a news conference with RowVaughn Wells, mother of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, and his stepfather Rodney Wells, right, in Memphis, Tenn., Friday, Jan. 27, 2023.
Photo: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert (AP)

Attorney Benjamin Crump and Nichols’ family viewed the body camera footage of the incident and shared their reactions in a viral press conference. They described the video to be inhumane, heinous and difficult to watch. Here, they confirmed in addition to being beaten, non lethal weapons were used on Nichols during the arrest.

The day prior, five officers were identified in connection to the beating and were fired from the department.

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The nation’s cry for justice

The nation’s cry for justice

Demonstrators march during a protest Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in New York, in response to the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police during a traffic stop.
Demonstrators march during a protest Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in New York, in response to the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police during a traffic stop.

Photo: AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura (AP)

After the release of the body camera footage, demonstrators across the country protested demanding accountability and police reform. In anticipation of the outrage, Nichols’ family and President Biden called for peaceful demonstrations.

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Rev. Al Sharpton prepares to eulogize Nichols

Rev. Al Sharpton prepares to eulogize Nichols

When asked by Nichols’ family to do the eulogy for his funeral service, Sharpton said he’d be honored, per USA TODAY. He also said he plans to make a call to action on police reform and not letting Nichols’ death be in vain.

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A joyous procession

A joyous procession

Musicians perform at the beginning of the funeral service for Tyre Nichols at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.
Musicians perform at the beginning of the funeral service for Tyre Nichols at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.
Photo: Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean (AP)

An African band played a tribal tune ahead of Nichols’ family entering the sanctuary. As they came up the isle, dancing and the crowd began chanting and singing, “We love you, Tyre!” The tone was set for a celebratory service and the choir greeted the family in song.

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A parent’s grief

A parent’s grief

RowVaughn Wells stops in front of the casket of her son Tyre Nichols at the start of his funeral service at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.
RowVaughn Wells stops in front of the casket of her son Tyre Nichols at the start of his funeral service at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.
Photo: Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean (AP)

Rodney and RowVaughn Wells approach their son’s casket for a final goodbye. Mrs. Wells places a rose on his casket.

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Vice President Kamala Harris addresses the congregation

Vice President Kamala Harris addresses the congregation

Image for article titled The Life and Homegoing of Tyre Nichols [Updated]
Screenshot: Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church via YouTube

The Vice President shared remarks to Tyre Nichols’ family, honoring them for their grace and strength. She also called for the passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act which she co-authored as senator.

Harris said every mother’s prayer for her child is that they be safe and that the officers were not operating in the pursuit of public safety.

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A fiery sendoff

A fiery sendoff

Rev. Al Sharpton delivers the eulogy for Tyre Nichols at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Nichols died following a brutal beating by Memphis police after a traffic stop.
Rev. Al Sharpton delivers the eulogy for Tyre Nichols at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Nichols died following a brutal beating by Memphis police after a traffic stop.
Photo: Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean (AP)

Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a eulogy comparing the Bible story of Joseph being killed by his brothers to the brutal beating of Tyre Nichols by his brothers, fellow Black men.

Sharpton called the actions of the cops insulting.

“What is so personal to me is that five Black men, who wouldn’t have had a job in a police department, would not ever be thought of to be in an elite squad, in the city that Dr. King lost his life—not far away from that balcony you beat a brother to death.” Sharpton said. “There’s nothing more insulting and offensive to those of us who fight to open doors that you walk through those doors and act like the folks we had to fight for to get you through them doors.”

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