Defense Attorney Makes Claim Accusing Tyre Nichols Of Theft And Having Drugs
An attorney representing one of the former officers charged in Tyre Nichols’ death made an unconfirmed claim in court on Oct. 5.
Investigators claimed they discovered drugs and stolen credit cards in Nichols’ car when he was pulled over. According to the Associated Press, the defense attorney’s assertion complicates an already contentious situation.
Martin Zummach, the defense attorney for former officer Justin Smith, disclosed the claims in a court filing while joining another officer’s request for access to Nichols’ cell phone records as part of the federal civil rights case against the five ex-officers. Zummach alleged that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s inventory of Nichols’ car showed the presence of drugs from psilocybin, a substance found in hallucinogenic mushrooms, when police initially stopped Nichols on Jan. 7 for an alleged reckless driving violation before the confrontation that was captured on police video. The autopsy did not mention psilocybin being in the deceased victim’s system.
Zummach further contended that Nichols had stolen credit cards, debit cards, and photo identification in his vehicle along with the drugs. It is important to note that the inventory cited by the attorney remained confidential under state law, as confirmed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Nichol’s death led to the five officers’ termination and subsequent charges in state court for second-degree murder. A federal grand jury has also indicted them for alleged civil rights violations connected to the use of excessive force and failure to provide aid to Nichols as he struggled with his injuries. The officers have entered pleas of not guilty to all charges.
Federal prosecutors and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Memphis declined to comment on the recent developments. Likewise, the Shelby County district attorney and the legal representatives of Tyre Nichols’ family have not responded to inquiries regarding the accusations of drugs and stolen credit cards by Smith’s lawyer. It is a case fraught with legal complexity and social implications that continue evolving as more information surfaces.