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Tyre Nichols’ family files $550M suit against PD, former officers and city

“This has nothing to do with the monetary value of the lawsuit, but everything to do with accountability,” Nichols’ mother said


The family of Tyre Nichols sued the officers and the city of Memphis on Wednesday.

Mark Weber/Daily Memphian via AP

By Sarah Roebuck

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The family of Tyre Nichols filed a $550 million lawsuit against the City of Memphis, its police department and officers involved in the case, blaming them for Nichols’ death.

The federal suit filed by lawyers for Nichols’ mother seeks a jury trial and financial damages, according to the Associated Press.

“It’s my turn to make sure that my son’s death does not go in vain,” Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, said at a news conference Wednesday. “This has nothing to do with the monetary value of the lawsuit, but everything to do with accountability.”

The family’s attorney, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, said the lawsuit is meant to send a message to other cities.

The lawsuit claims the SCORPION unit launched by Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis used “extreme intimidation, humiliation and violence.” The lawsuit says that the department permitted this approach and ignored complaints by others targeted before Nichols’ death.

The five officers charged in Nichols’ case were members of the unit, which has since been disbanded, police said.

The lawsuit names the defendants as the City of Memphis, Memphis Police Director Davis, the five officers who have been fired and charged, another officer who has been fired but not charged and an additional officer who retired before he could be fired. It also names three Memphis Fire Department employees who were fired after officials said they failed to render aid to Nichols, according to the Associated Press.

The five officers face up to 60 years in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.

The lawsuit comes after the Justice Department announced that it will review the police department’s policies on the use of force, de-escalation strategies and specialized units.