Tyre Nichols: What we know and what we don’t about the Memphis police killing and one cop’s CT ties

A federal investigation has been launched into the death of Tyre Nichols, who died three days after a Jan. 7 arrest by police in Memphis, Tenn.

An internal probe resulted in the firing of five Black police officers, one of whom, Desmond Mills Jr., is originally from Hartford .

Here’s what we know and what we don’t about Nichols’ death, the status of the investigation and Mills’ Connecticut connection.

Lawyer says beating of Nichols was ‘savage’

Video footage of the arrest has not yet been made public, though it is expected to be released Friday evening. Nichols’ family and their attorney had a chance to review footage, which attorney Ben Crump called showed a “savage” beating.

Crump told the Associated Press that Nichols was tased and pepper sprayed and then restrained after being pulled over. Crump said Nichols was beaten for three minutes after the traffic stop.

An autopsy, conducted by a forensic pathologist hired by Nichols’ family, showed internal bleeding, Crump said, though it did not state cause of death.

All five officers involved have been fired and are facing charges including second-degree murder, aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping.

Why was Nichols allegedly beaten?

Members of Nichols’ family say the 29-year-old father had been at a park near his Memphis home, taking pictures of the sunset when he was pulled over for reckless driving.

In a statement, police said “a confrontation occurred” when Nichols ran from the vehicle as the police officers approached. When officers caught him and were in the process of carrying out the arrest, police said ”another confrontation occurred.”

Attorneys for the family say Nichols was beaten while he was restrained, comparing the scene to an MMA fight, and to the 1991 beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police.

According to police, Nichols was taken to a hospital after complaining of being short of breath, where he died three days later.

Who is Desmond Mills Jr?

Desmond Mills Jr., one of the five police officers arrested in Nichols’ death, along with Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith, has some close ties to Connecticut.

A former Hartford resident, Mills appears on rosters on MaxPreps.com for Bloomfield's high school football teams in the 2006 and 2007 seasons and is listed as a defensive lineman/center.

Bloomfield was 10-2 in Mills junior year, advancing to the CIAC Class S championship game, where it lost to Ansonia 34-12. The team was 4-6 in Mills senior year.

Mills, listed at 5-10, 255 pounds in high school, went on to play football at West Virginia State University, where he is listed as a red shirt sophomore on the 2012 roster. He is not listed on the team's rosters for 2013 and 2014.

He previously worked as a prison guard in Mississippi and Tennessee.

Attorney Blake Ballin, representing Mills in the case, said his client planned to plead not guilty. According to CNN , Mills posted a $250,000 bond and was released Thursday evening.

During a press conference, Ballin said Mills was “devastated” to be accused of murder, and described him as a “respectful father.”

“We are in the dark about many things, just like the general public is,” Ballin said.

Which officers were responsible for what?

Bond was set at $350,000 for Haley and Martin, and $250,000 for Bean, all three of whom were in police custody Thursday night, according to multiple media reports .

Bond was set for Smith at $250,000 and, like Mills, he was released pending trial.

All five officers were fired on Jan. 20, and Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said in a Wednesday statement that the officers were “directly responsible for the physical abuse of Mr. Nichols.”

The officers played different roles during the incident, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said, but said “they are all responsible.”

Why were fire department employees put on leave?

In addition to the five police officers fired, the Associated Press reported that two Memphis Fire Department employees were put on leave after Nichols’ death.

The fire department said the employees, who have not been identified, were the first to provide patient care to Nichols.

The fire department said the two employees were “relieved of duty” pending an internal investigation, though it is not known what role, if any, they played in Nchols’ death.

Nichols’ mother asked for protests to be peaceful

Nichols’ mother, Ravaughn Wells, told local media, “I don’t want us burning up our cities, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for.”

President Joe Biden Thursday called Nichols’ death a “painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all.”