RowVaughn Wells, the mother of Tyre Nichols, has created a GoFundMe page following the brutal death of her son at the hands of police.
Created Saturday, the Tyre Nichols Memorial Fund has already received nearly $1.3 million from over 33,000 donors. The page has also been flooded with messages of support for Nichols’ mother, who wrote she and her husband “have had our entire world turned upside down by what happened to our son.”
On Jan. 7, 29-year-old Nichols was pulled over at a traffic stop in Memphis for “reckless driving.” The officers immediately pulled Nichols from his car and used a taser and pepper spray on him. Nichols tried to run to his mother’s house — just a few blocks away — for safety, but five officers caught up with him and beat him until he lost consciousness. Released body camera footage of the incident showed Nichols never fought back against the officers. It also showed Nichols repeatedly calling out for his mother.
“My baby was just trying to make it home to be safe in my arms,” Wells wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Nichols died three days later in the hospital, but Wells wrote she believes her son died on Jan. 7, “the moment those 5 Black Memphis Police Officers pulled Tyre over and beat him to death for no good reason.”
All five officers have been fired and charged with murder, but that clearly doesn’t take the pain away from Nichols’ grieving family. Wells said at a Friday press conference that “no mother should go through what I’m going through” and that she hasn’t watched the video footage.
Money raised on GoFundMe, she wrote, will help cover the costs of mental health services as she and her husband grieve, and help them take time off from their 9-5 jobs so they can “turn our full-time attention to seeking proper justice for our son.”
Additionally, the funds will go toward building a memorial skate park for Nichols “in honor of his love for skating and sunsets.”
Wells requested on the page that people protest peacefully and not resort to destruction or violence, as that’s not what her son — who was an amateur photographer and a father to a 4-year-old son — stood for.
“He was known as someone ‘you know when he comes through the door he wants to give you a hug’ and that ‘he wouldn’t hurt a fly,’” she wrote.
The fundraising goal of $1.4 million, to date, has not been met. Donations can be made on the GoFundMe page here.