The U.S. Justice Department will participate in a review of the Memphis Police Department after the death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man fatally beaten by officers in the Tennessee city last month, according to city officials.
The review was disclosed in a bulletin by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. The bulletin said the Justice Department as well as the International Association of Chiefs of Police would take part in an “independent, external review” requested by the city to assess the Memphis Police Department’s special units and use-of-force policies.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
Memphis police on Friday fired a sixth officer involved in the death of Nichols. Five other officers, all Black, were previously fired and charged with second-degree murder. The sixth officer to be fired is white.
Nichols repeatedly cried, “Mom! Mom!” as the five Memphis police officers charged with the Black motorist’s murder pummeled him with kicks, punches and baton blows after a Jan. 7 traffic stop, video released by the city showed.
He was hospitalized and died of his injuries three days after the confrontation in the city where he lived with his mother and stepfather and worked at FedEx.
His death has further fueled an ongoing national debate in the United States about race and police brutality.
The Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services will take part in the review, the city said.
The mother of Nichols, RowVaughn Wells, and his stepfather, Rodney Wells, are due to attend President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday in Washington.
Nichols’ funeral, held in a Memphis church on Wednesday, was attended by Vice President Kamala Harris and relatives of other Black people killed by police in U.S. cities.