Names of Five Memphis police officers charged over death of Tyre Nichols

by slim

Five former police officers in Tennessee have been charged with second-degree murder after a man died following a traffic stop.

From left: Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith and Tadarrius Bean

Tyre Nichols, 29, was stopped in Memphis on 7 January for reckless driving. He died three days later.

Officials will give an update on Thursday and video of the arrest is expected to be released later.

Names of Five Memphis police officers charged over death of Tyre Nichols
Names of Five Memphis police officers charged over death of Tyre Nichols

The city’s police chief earlier urged people to stay calm once the footage is made public.

“This is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual,” Police Chief CJ Davis said.

The five officers, all of whom joined the Memphis Police Department in the last six years, were fired last week after an investigation found them to be “directly responsible for the physical abuse of Mr Nichols”.

Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr, Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith are all in custody, jail records show.

All have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.

A lawyer for one of the former officers, Mr Mills Jr, said he would hold a news conference later on Thursday. Another lawyer who represents Mr Martin III confirmed his client had been charged and had turned himself in.

The Nichols family and their lawyers privately reviewed the video footage of the arrest earlier this week. “He was a human piñata. It was an unadulterated, unabashed, non-stop beating of this young boy for three minutes,” lawyer Antonio Romanucci said of its contents.

On Wednesday, the family’s lawyers said an autopsy indicated he had been severely beaten.

Mr Nichols was stopped by police on his way to a local park, his mother said. City officials said police officers pulled him over for reckless driving and two “confrontations” occurred.

According to authorities, the first happened as officers approached the vehicle and he attempted to flee on foot. They said the second confrontation happened when officers tried to arrest him.

Mr Nichols later complained of shortness of breath and was taken to hospital, police said, where he was listed in a critical condition. Officials said Mr Nichols had “succumbed to his injuries” on 10 January, but provided no further detail. An official cause of death has not yet been disclosed.

The FBI and the Department of Justice have opened a civil rights investigation into Mr Nichols’s death.

“My son was a beautiful soul,” said Mr Nichols’s mother, Rowvaughn Wells. “Nobody is perfect, but he was damn near.” She called her son’s death a “murder”.

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