Police officers brutally beat Nichols during an evening traffic stop on January 7th. The 29-year-old died three days later in a hospital. Last Thursday, five police officers who were suspended and then fired after the incident were charged with second-degree murder, which in Tennessee is an intermediate stage between murder and manslaughter. Like the victim, the five men are African American. On Friday, the authorities then released video footage of the incident, which caused great outrage in the United States.
Lawyers for Nichols' family said Monday the sixth police officer fired a stun gun at the 29-year-old early in the violent arrest. Nichols' family said they were "extremely disappointed" that the officer, who has worked for the Memphis Police Department since 2018, was not fired and charged like the other officers.
"Certainly the question arises as to why the white police officer involved in this brutal attack was shielded and shielded from the light of public view, and until now has been shielded from adequate discipline and accountability," the family said.
The police officer's lawyer told the Washington Post that the officer was at the scene of the first confrontation between the police and Nichols, but not at the place where the other officers brutally beat the 29-year-old a short time later.
Nichols was first stopped at an intersection, pulled out of his car and pinned to the ground by police officers. The officers also used pepper spray and a so-called taser, while apparently confusing Nichols with contradictory orders. Nichols then got free and ran, but after a short chase he was stopped again and punched and kicked by police officers.