MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kevin G. Ritz, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, promised a “thorough and methodical” investigation in the death of Tyre Nichols.
Ritz said he had met with Nichols’ family and told them the federal civil rights investigation would may take some time.
“I want this city to be a place where justice is done,” Ritz said in a press conference Wednesday morning in Memphis. “The United States is committed to following the facts in the law guided by principles of justice every step of the way.”
He did not take questions after his statement.
Nichols, 29, died Jan. 10, three days after a traffic stop by Memphis Police that ended with Nichols severely injured in a hospital.
Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy immediately asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to conduct an independent investigation into the use of force by Memphis police officers.
Five Memphis Police officers were fired for violation of policy as a result. City officials said they were notified Jan. 15.
On Jan. 18, Ritz announced the U.S. Attorney’s Office in coordination with the FBI and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Tyre Nichols.
Nichols’ family has hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump to represent them. The family’s legal team said Nichols was returning to his parents’ home in Hickory Hill after taking pictures of the sunset at Shelby Farms Park.
They said officers beat Nichols for three minutes in an encounter they compared to the 1991 Rodney King police beating in Los Angeles.
Video of the incident has been released by Memphis Police to the family. Officials said this week it would be released publicly in another week or two.
Mulroy said the release of the video will be timed to avoid influencing witnesses during the investigation.
Ritz on Wednesday asked that any public demonstrations after the release of that video remain peaceful and non-violent. He said the decision to release the video was up to state and local authorities.