Videos of the Jan. 7 beating released on Friday are filled with violent moments showing the officers, who are also Black, chasing and pummeling Nichols and leaving him on the pavement propped against a squad car as they fist-bumped and celebrated their actions.
Nichols, a father and FedEx worker who liked photography and skateboarding, died in a hospital three days later. Five officers were fired and have been charged with second-degree murder in his death.
These developments have led not only to the scrutiny of those officers’ actions but also of the emergency medical workers who first arrived on the scene after the beating.
Many are questioning whether they should or could have done more to help Nichols.
At one point, Nichols is slumped up against a car in the video, and not one of the officers renders aid. The body camera footage shows a first-person view of one of them reaching down and tying his shoe.
It takes more than 20 minutes after Nichols is beaten and on the pavement before any sort of medical attention is provided to him, even though two fire department officers arrived on the scene with medical equipment within 10 minutes.
Both of the medical workers who arrived first to tend to Nichols appeared to be EMTs with the Memphis Fire Department, The New York Times reported.
Qwanesha Ward, a spokeswoman for the Memphis Fire Department, said Friday that the department suspended two of its EMTs who treated Nichols and an investigation was expected to wrap up early this week, the Times also reported.
NewsNation has asked for their names, ranks and specific allegations against them, but city officials have declined to identify the medics.
Tony Romannuci, the Nichols’ family attorney, said he is working with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice on identifying each person who participated in some way in this arrest.
“We are very pleased that they did what they did with the five officers who administered the severe beating, but I hope they don’t stop there. I think there is a lot of accountability here, there is a lot of culpability here, there is a lot of reasons why Tyre is not with us anymore and I think everybody needs to be held accountable,” said Tony Romanucci, Nichols’ family attorney.
Many are questioning why police took such drastic action and if they had any previous history with Tyre Nichols.
Nichols suffered fatal injuries after police officers kicked, punched and used a baton to beat him. They said they had pulled him over because he was driving recklessly and attempted to grab an officer’s gun.
There is no video evidence to support those claims.
All of the officers’ lawyers have declined NewsNation’s requests for interviews.
Meanwhile, a specialized police group known as the Scorpion Unit, which included the five officers charged in the death of Nichols, has been permanently deactivated.
Activists said their new mission is to disband the entire organized crime unit within the Memphis Police Department.
In two days, a memorial fund set up by Tyre Nichols’ mother has received nearly $1.2 million in donations. Over the weekend, Nichols’s parents said they would use a portion of it to help build a skatepark, which was one of Tyre’s many passions.