Everything is different now for Nicole Trim. Everything.
“Every time you see her you see him. Every time you see him you see her. That’s how it was,” said her mother-in-law, Flora Trim.
Her husband, Acruest Trim, was killed by police after a chase into Jackson earlier this month. He had assured the family that he was turning his life around. It seemed weird to them that he would be doing anything that should get him chased or shot by the law.
When Clinton police encountered Trim, he was driving a stolen truck. When they tried to pull him over, he ran.
Nicole was on the phone with him.
“He said he didn’t know what to do, they were chasing him. I didn’t know who was chasing him. I didn’t know what was going on. When he left out of my house he said, ‘Baby, I’ll be back’. I didn’t question that,” Nicole said. “‘Okay, I love you be careful.’ Last words, we always say that: ‘Love you, be careful.’ He called me 20 or 30 mins later. ‘Baby they chasing me, I don’t know what to do.'”
Trim told her he was on I-220. He had just a few months left on probation, which may have spurred his decision to try to get home, she said.
“‘I’m getting off the highway,’ he’s like, ‘I’m running,'” she said.
Nicole said she can speak candidly about that phone call because she has faith that Acruest was on his way back to the straight and narrow.
“I’m gonna be forward with you: He was changing his life. I’m not going to hide anything because anything he was doing, he was doing to better himself,” she said
Trim finally stopped running when he crashed into a Clinton police officer’s vehicle and a gate at the apartments, according to Clinton police.
The shooting happened near the Terrace Pointe Apartments on McFadden Road in Jackson, and police said Trim got out of his vehicle and was in the process of pulling a weapon on police, a move Police Chief Ford Hayman said unfortunately led to the Clinton officer shooting him.
Nicole and Flora got to the scene and couldn’t understand why police wouldn’t let them see the body to identify Acruest. In any shooting situation, it’s procedure that police secure the scene so the evidence is secure, but that wasn’t clear to Trim’s terrified family.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting, which is routine for line-of-duty shootings around the state.
Acruest Trim’s sister Diara Trim said it’s hard to make sense of it all, especially to her brother’s sons who have never really taken issue with police before.
“We got one in college who’s questioning the police. He’s older so he knows more than the younger ones so now he’s in this position where he’s grown and he’s gotta say, ‘Oh, let’s not go that way because of the police,'” she said.
Trim had been in trouble with the police before, they said, but he told his family that he was clean of that life. He had an extensive record over the years, with his first arrest being an auto theft out of Hinds County in 2000. He went on to rack up felony arrests in both Hinds County and Chicago, with charges ranging from domestic violence, assault on police, kidnapping, grand larceny, and some drug and gun charges. Most recently was in 2018 when he was arrested for kidnapping and grand larceny.
But his family said he had turned it around. He was focusing his efforts on his rap career. “Country wit tha Kay” was his rap name, and beyond his family, rap was his passion.
“He loved to rap. He rapped about family, he rapped about his grandma, his mother — he loved everybody. That’s what he was turning his life around doing was rapping,” Nicole said. “He wanted to pursue going back on the road. We used to go out of town on shows, but since the pandemic we had to be home.”
Diara said the lack of clear answers from officials has been hard. The shortage of media coverage has made them feel overlooked. She said she will fight to the end to make sure her brother’s name is remembered, in spite of what the family feels is an information lockdown.
“Not to be about color or race, anybody would feel how we feel, they would feel enraged,” she said. “But we know what we have to do it in the right way. Acting a fool is not gonna get us anywhere; that’s not gonna get us justice. We won’t get someone to talk to us if we are acting a fool, or acting a clown. So we know how to act because we want justice, we want to know what happened.”
Hayman and members of his staff did sit down with the Trims, but because of the ongoing investigation, they weren’t able to answer all the questions. Hayman said since the investigation is being done by an outside agency, it would be inappropriate for Clinton to be the agency who releases the information. But they wanted to hear Trim’s family out, and they did.
“MBI is looking into this to assure that all the I’s get dotted and all the T’s are crossed,” Hayman said. “They’re making sure the investigation is done fairly. We can’t investigate our own shooting, that wouldn’t be fair. We outsource that to a different agency and at this moment, we don’t know the outcome. It’s still ongoing and that’s why we can’t provide more information right now.”
“It’s not our story to tell because it’s not our investigation,” added Assistant Chief Josh Frazier.
Nicole said there was some comfort in being shown that respect, but it still feels like there’s no one to bear witness to her world ending, along with that of her family.
“(Hayman) seemed sincere, he did. But it’s just the fact that I know they can’t talk to us and I know everything is under investigation and it all has its time, but it feels like… I’m just being swept under the rug,” she said.
Nicole said she’s trying to understand, and she’s clear on the fact that there is an officer out there who didn’t wake up that morning planning to end someone’s life, and who is also affected. But she said it can be hard to balance the extreme anger and grief of the tragedy with compassion when things just aren’t making sense to her.
“I look at things both ways. And that’s what I told the officers. I want facts. I want the cam. You can say what you want to say to me, you can feel how you feel about him,” she said. “But I want facts. I want that camera. I’m not gonna be belligerent. I’m not gonna go off crazy and try to do other things. I want to handle this the right way, but I am grieving right now.”
Hayman and Frazier couldn’t speak directly on the mental effects on the particular officer involved, but said the impact was felt through his family, too. It’s human nature to be affected in a case like this one, they said, and it weighs heavily on the shoulders of any officer in that position.
Diara said her brother lived the life, but he wasn’t tied up in it.
“Even though he was out in the streets, he wasn’t a gang banger, he wasn’t a drug dealer, he wasn’t a murderer. But he used to be out with his friends or whatever. But I feel like he was always loving. He fed the homeless. Whenever he seen someone he knew he’d give them a dollar or even go get them something to eat,” she said, continuing emotionally. “And everybody’s not right, but he was my big brother.”
A mother is never supposed to lose a child before the end of her own life, but that’s something Flora is dealing with now.
“He takes me to work every morning. I mean I can’t hardly get up in the morning just to go out and go to work,” Flora said. “I try to go to work, I can’t sit at home. I can’t work right now, I can’t do nothing right now. Its like a part of me is gone. I don’t know what to say.”
Just hours before the balloon release and vigil held for Acruest last Friday, Nicole pondered the fact that losing her husband was never something she thought was in her future. He was so much a part of her.
“That’s my best friend in life. We didn’t have anybody else. We didn’t need anybody else because we had each other, and that was the best that I could ask for,” said Nicole.