“Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune condition that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract; common symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, fatigue, bloating, and blood in the stool — many of which can contribute to weight loss and malnutrition.
Estimates show that about 65% to 75% of people with Crohn’s disease are underweight.
It’s unclear when Nichols was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, but the information Wells shared about her son’s health adds another layer to the discussion about his treatment by the police.
“He weighed about a buck fifty. Tyre has Crohn’s disease, so he manages it with his diet so he doesn’t eat as much as normal people,” Wells said in the interview. “That’s why this is so troubling to me, because you had five officers’ combined weight of over a thousand pounds beating up on a young man that’s only a buck fifty.”
“How did [the officers] fear for their lives in order for this to happen?” Wells continued. “I’m still trying to understand that.”
When the Memphis Police Department asked Wells if her son was taking drugs, because he had “superhuman energy” that made it difficult to handcuff him, she was shocked.
“What they were describing was not my son, so I was very confused,” Wells told CNN’s Don Lemon last week.”
KSBW – What we know – and still don’t know – about what led to Tyre Nichols’ death
“Nichols had Crohn’s disease, a digestive issue, and was a slim 140 to 145 pounds despite his six-foot-three-inch height, his mother said.”
Penn LDI Institute of Health Economics – The Link Between Disability and Incarceration
“While roughly one quarter of the general population in the United States are disabled, disabled people make up around two-thirds of the 2016 state and federal prison population, with 40% reporting a psychiatric disability and 56% reporting a nonpsychiatric disability. Our study found striking disparities by race-ethnicity and gender, with Black, Hispanic, and multiracial disabled men especially overrepresented in prisons.”
Center for American Progress – Understanding the Policing of Black, Disabled Bodies
“In the United States, 50 percent of people killed by law enforcement are disabled, and more than half of disabled African Americans have been arrested by the time they turn 28—double the risk in comparison to their white disabled counterparts.”
American Public Health Association – The Cumulative Probability of Arrest by Age 28 Years in the United States by Disability Status, Race/Ethnicity, and Gender
“Estimates demonstrated that those with disabilities have a higher cumulative probability of arrest (c = 42.65) than those without (c = 29.68). The risk was disproportionately spread across races/ethnicities, with Blacks with disabilities experiencing the highest cumulative probability of arrest (c = 55.17) and Whites without disabilities experiencing the lowest (c = 27.55).”
The Arc – Statement on the Killing of Tyre Nichols