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Officers charged over Tyre Nichols’ death

Five ex-Memphis police officers have been charged with murdering black man Tyre Nichols, who died three days after they allegedly pulled him over and beat him.

January 27, 2023
By Tyler Clifford
27 January 2023

Five former Memphis police officers have been indicted by a grand jury on charges including second-degree murder in the death of Tyre Nichols, a black man who died three days after a traffic stop.

Nichols, a 29-year-old father, died in a hospital on January 10, three days after sustaining injuries during his arrest by the five police officers.

Officials are expected to release bodycam footage of the traffic stop on Friday evening.

“We’re here today because of a tragedy that wounds one family deeply but also hurts us all,” District Attorney Steve Mulroy said at a news conference on Thursday.

The five officers had been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and official misconduct, Mulroy said.

The Memphis Police Department on Friday identified them as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr, and Justin Smith, who are all black and aged between 24 and 32. 

Each had served with the department for about two to five years.

They were dismissed from the force last Saturday for violating multiple departmental policies, including using excessive force, failing to intervene and failing to render aid.

Two Memphis Fire Department employees involved in the response were relieved of their duties during an investigation, a department spokesperson said earlier this week.

Other Memphis officers remained under investigation for policy infractions, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said on Wednesday. 

In a video posted on YouTube, she asked for calm when the bodycam footage is made public.

Recent incidents of police brutality against black people in the United States have sparked outrage and calls for reforms in policing.

Protests broke out globally following the May 2020 killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, as well as other incidents in which police killed Black men and women.

The Nichols family viewed the police footage on Monday with their lawyer, Ben Crump. 

He compared the beating to the 1991 Los Angeles police assault on Rodney King that was caught on video and sparked protests and police reforms.

“He was defenseless the entire time. He was a human pinata for those police officers,” Antonio Romanucci, Crump’s co-counsel, told reporters.

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