Five Former Memphis Cops Federally Indicted In Death Of Tyre Nichols
Five former police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, have been federally indicted in the beating death of Tyre Nichols.
On Tuesday, September 12, a federal court indictment charged five ex-cops with violating Nichols’ civil rights during a January 7 arrest that led to his death, WREG reported. Emmitt Martin, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith face four counts of use of excessive force and failure to intervene, deliberate indifference, conspiracy to witness tamper, and witness tampering for former officers.
The indictment called out certain disparaging acts made by the officers during the arrest, including when Haley and Mills removed their body cameras to recall the violence used against Nichols, like, “I thought when he wasn’t going to fall, we about to kill this man.”
The charges carry lengthy sentences, with counts one and two of the indictment carrying a maximum penalty of life in prison, while counts three and four each have a maximum penalty of 20 years. The former officers also face criminal court charges in Shelby County, Tennessee, for second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct, and official oppression.
Nichols died three days after a violent police encounter during a shady traffic stop near his home in Memphis, CBS News reported. While all the officers involved were Black, Nichols’ death reignited protests and heated debates about police brutality and the need for police reform in the U.S.
“The country watched in horror as Tyre Nichols was kicked, punched, tased, and pepper sprayed, and we all heard Mr. Nichols cry out for his mother and say, ‘I’m just trying to go home,'” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said. “Officers who violate the civil rights of those they are sworn to protect undermine public safety, which depends on the community’s trust in law enforcement. They dishonor their fellow officers who do their work with integrity every day. The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable officers who betray their oath.”
In July, the Department of Justice announced an investigation into the Memphis Police Department’s use of force and conduct during arrests.