Amidst a nationwide protest surrounding the tragic death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, his mother, RowVaughn Wells, created a GoFundMe page for his memorial expenses. Nichols died on January 10, while he was hospitalized after being arrested and beaten by five Memphis police officers.
The fundraiser goal has been set to $500,000 among which $458,711 has been raised till now.
On January 7, Tyre Nichols was pulled over by five officers from the Memphis Police Department on suspicion of reckless driving. The incident took place around 8:30 p.m. According to the police department, there was a confrontation between Nichols and the officers. It involved pepper sprays and tasers. Nichols fled on foot but was soon caught up by the officers, leading to another confrontation.
Bodycam footage of the whole incident was released on January 28. Nichols' mother even called for a peaceful protest before the videos came out. Addressing the people gathered at the protest, Nichols' stepfather, Rodney Wells, said:
"We do not want any type of uproar, any type of disturbance. That’s what [the] family wants. That’s what [the] community wants. Please, please protest, but protest safely."
Tyre Nichols kept calling for his mother when the officers ganged up on him
Police body-camera footage of Tyre Nichols' confrontation with the police has left everyone raging. The video captured a savage display of police violence. The second time the officers got hold of the Black man, 29, he beat him brutally. One of the officers boasted about beating the man. Nichols was screaming for his mother and writhing in pain the entire time.
He was reportedly approximately three homes away from his mother's place when the police beat him up.
A second altercation escalated which demanded immediate medical assistance. But the EMT reached the spot late, by the time the damage was done. He suffered internal injuries and excessive bleeding from the beating. Although Nichols was hospitalized and went through treatment for around three days, he succumbed to death on January 10.
Multiple charges were filed against the five black officers involved in Tyre Nichols’ case, including second-degree murder, multiple counts of official oppression and official misconduct, and two counts of aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping. They were released on bail from the Shelby County Jail on Friday.
Benjamin Crump, Nichols' family attorney, said:
"He calls out three times for his mother. His last words on this earth were 'Mom, Mom, Mom.' He's screaming for her. He said, 'I just wanna go home.'"
RowVaughn Wells addressed the five officers who murdered her son and said:
"you also disgraced your own families when you did this. I’m going to pray for you and your families."
On the GoFundMe page created for Tyre Nichols, his mother claimed that her son was severely assaulted by the police to the point where it was impossible to recognize his face. The beating left parts of his face, neck, and head swollen and disfigured. RowVaughn believes that her son was pulled over for no good reason on January 7.
She also made a separate paragraph to provide information on the status of the investigation. RowVaughn said she does not want people to burn cities and vandalize streets in protest because that's not what her son stood for. She wants everyone to assemble and maintain a non-violent vigil.
Nichols' mother described him as a gentle, joyful, and kind person who was loved by his community. She wrote about his love for skating. She mentioned that Tyre was someone who would want to wrap others in a warm embrace whenever he went to visit someone.
RowVaughn added that her son was never involved in any trouble with the law and that he was an honest man and a wonderful son who was kind to everyone.
As for the cause of raising the fundraiser, RowVaughn wrote:
"This fundraiser will help cover the costs of our mental health services. It will also cover time off from our 9-5 jobs because we do not have unlimited PTO. Additionally, we want to build a memorial skate park for Tyre, in honor of his love for skating and sunsets."
Tyre Nichols' mother thanked COMMUNITYx and its CEO Chloe Sledd for helping their family create the fundraiser.