The FBI and Department of Justice have opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Tyre Nichols, who passed away in a hospital after being arrested by Memphis police, according to a statement from US Attorney Kevin Ritz on Wednesday.
“Last week, Tyre Nichols tragically died, a few days after he was involved in an incident where Memphis Police Department officers used force during his arrest,” Ritz said in a Department of Justice news release.
Immediately following the incident, the officers involved were relieved of duty, pending the outcome of the investigations, the police department has said. Police did not release how many officers were involved in the incident.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether officers broke any law while Memphis Police are investigating whether department policies were violated. The police department’s administrative investigation should be finished later this week, city officials have said.
“In addition, the United States Attorney’s Office, in coordination with the FBI Memphis Field Office and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, has opened a civil rights investigation,” Ritz said.
He said he could offer no more comments about the case as the investigation remains open.
CNN has reached out to the FBI Memphis Field Office for comment.
On January 8, the police department announced officers pulled over a motorist for reckless driving the previous day. “As officers approached the driver of the vehicle, a confrontation occurred and the suspect fled the scene on foot,” officials said in a statement posted on social media.
Officers pursued the suspect and again attempted to take him into custody when another confrontation occurred before the suspect was apprehended, according to police.
“Afterward, the suspect complained of having a shortness of breath, at which time an ambulance was called to the scene. The suspect was transported to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition,” officials said.
The man, identified as Nichols, died a few days later, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The death led to protests and for the family to call for the release of video recorded by cameras worn by the officers.
“This kind of in-custody death destroys community trust if agencies are not swiftly transparent. The most effective way for the Memphis Police Department to be transparent with the grieving Nichols family and the Memphis community is to release the body camera and surveillance footage from the traffic stop,” attorney Ben Crump, who represents Nichols’ family, said Monday in a statement.
On Tuesday, city officials said the video will be released publicly after the police department’s internal investigation ends and after the family is given a chance to review the recording.
Details about the injuries Nichols suffered or his cause of death have not been released. CNN has reached out to the Shelby County coroner.