RowVaughn Wells, Tyre Nichols’ mom, named to Time’s most influential list

Tyre Nichols died at age 29, three days after being viciously beaten by Memphis police officers on January 7.

The mother of Tyre Nichols has been named among Time’s 100 most influential people for 2023.

RowVaughn Wells, who Nichols cried out for during a brutal beating by Memphis police days prior to his death in a hospital, joins a list of big-name artists, authors, politicians, musicians, athletes, environmentalists, trailblazers in the medical industry, and other influencers who made the cut.

Nichols’ family attorney Ben Crump authored a short profile recognizing Wells for being thrust into the national eye following “her life’s biggest tragedy” and using her voice to share the story of her late son, who was a photographer and skater.

Rev. Al Sharpton Holds Funeral For Tyre Nichols In Memphis
Flanked by Rev. Al Sharpton and her husband Rodney Wells, RowVaughn Wells speaks during the funeral service for her son Tyre Nichols at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church on Feb. 1, 2023 in Memphis. (Photo by Andrew Nelles-Pool/Getty Images)

“That cry shook the conscience of America,” Crump, a famed civil rights lawyer, wrote for the magazine. “RowVaughn’s strength to purposefully share her grief in the public eye resulted in national recognition from President Biden and his Administration and renewed the calls for police reform on the federal level.”

Time also honored A-listers such as Angela Bassett, Beyoncé, Michael B. Jordan, Doja Cat, Zoe Saldana, Drew Barrymore and King Charles. The publication released its long-running annual honors list on Thursday.

Wells continues to grieve the loss of her 29-year-old son. Nichols died three days after Memphis police officers viciously beat him on Jan. 7 following a traffic stop. Six officers and multiple other emergency responders were later fired over the incident, which was caught on video made public.

Five of the former officers have been charged and pleaded not guilty to multiple accusations, including second-degree murder, assault and kidnapping. They are all out on bond and a hearing has been scheduled for May 1, according to the Associated Press.

Tyre Nichols
This photo provided by the Nichols family shows Tyre Nichols, who had a passion for photography and was described by friends as joyful and lovable. (Photo: Courtesy of the Nichols family via AP)

The Memphis police supervisor on the scene when Nichols was beaten reportedly failed to de-escalate the situation. Lt. DeWayne Smith was allowed to retire with his benefits in March, the day before a hearing to fire him, per The Associated Press, theGrio reported.

Crump criticized the move saying the department should not have let Smith “cowardly sidestep the consequences of his actions” and retire after 25 years in law enforcement.

The release of surveillance and police body-cam video of the deadly beating sparked nationwide protests. The Nichols family retained Crump to lead their civil lawsuit against the Memphis police department.

Speaking to the public on Jan. 23, Wells said “We are going to get justice for Tyre if it’s the last breath I take.”

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