MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Attorneys for Tyre Nichols’ mother filed a federal civil lawsuit Wednesday against the City of Memphis, Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis, and 10 current and former city employees.
Attorney Ben Crump said the lawsuit would be worth $550 million in damages. This would exceed the $27 million that Minneapolis paid in the George Floyd lawsuit, believed to be the highest ever for a police-involved death lawsuit.
RowVaughn Wells was surrounded by supporters Wednesday as details of the lawsuit were made public.
“No parent should be going though what I’m going through right now. I don’t wish it on my worst enemy, but things need to change,” said Wells.
The 140 page lawsuit outlines what Crump calls out the “torture, savage, brutal, de-humanizing” killing of Tyre Nichols and calls out policies and procedures under MPD Chief CJ Davis.
The complaint alleges that Memphis Police SCORPION Unit used “seething aggression and unjustified force” when they pulled over Nichols for an alleged traffic violation on January 7. Nichols died in the hospital three days later. The incident was caught on video.
Several police officers and firefighters were terminated or suspended.
Crump said the focus of the lawsuit is ultimately to rid communities of police “oppression” units like the now-disbanded Scorpion unit. The five officers charged in Nichols’ death were members of the Scorpion unit.
“It is our mission to make it financial unsustainable for these police oppression units to unjustly kill black people in the future,” said Crump.
Watch the full press conference below
We reached out to MPD and were told as standard practice, they do not comment on pending litigation.
Note: Crump’s office later clarified the amount sought in the lawsuit at $550 million.