The FBI and Justice Department have opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Tyre Nichols, who died in hospital after being arrested by Memphis police, according to a statement from US Attorney Kevin Ritz Wednesday.
“Last week, Tire Nichols tragically passed away, just days after it was implicated in an incident in which Memphis police officers used force during his arrest,” Ritz said in a Justice Department press release.
Immediately following the incident, the police department said, the officers involved were released from duty pending the outcome of the investigations. The police did not disclose the number of officers involved in the incident.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether the officers violated any law while the Memphis police are investigating whether the department’s policies were violated. City officials said an administrative investigation into the police department will conclude later this week.
“In addition, the United States Attorney’s Office, in coordination with the FBI’s office in Memphis and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, has opened a civil rights investigation,” Ritz said.
He said he could not comment further on the case because the investigation is still open.
CNN has reached out to the FBI field office in Memphis for comment.
On January 8, the Police Department announced that officers had pulled over a motorist for reckless driving the previous day. “When the officers approached the driver of the vehicle, a confrontation ensued and the suspect fled the scene on foot,” officials said in a statement. Posted on social media.
The officers pursued the suspect and again attempted to arrest him when another confrontation occurred before the suspect was arrested, according to the police.
After that, the suspect complained of shortness of breath, at which time an ambulance was called to the scene. Officials said the suspect was taken to St Francis Hospital in critical condition.
The man, known as Nichols, died a few days later. According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The death led to protests and the family called for the release of a videotape recorded by the officers’ worn cameras.
“This type of death in custody destroys community trust if agencies are not swiftly transparent. Attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Nichols family, said Monday in a statement.
City officials said Tuesday that the video will be released publicly after the police department’s internal investigation concludes and after the family is given an opportunity to review the recording.
No details of the injuries Nichols suffered or the cause of his death have been released. CNN has reached out to the Shelby County coroner.