Memphis Police Officer Changes Plea In Tyre Nichols Murder Case
He initially pleaded not guilty.
Desmond Mills Jr., one of the five Memphis police officers facing federal charges related to the alleged murder of Tyre Nichols, altered his plea in court to guilty, as reported by the Daily Mail on Nov. 2. Mills is among the officers charged with multiple federal offenses, including second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, official oppression, and four federal counts.
While Mills initially pleaded not guilty to these federal charges in September, his attorney has since revealed Mills’ intention to change his plea in his upcoming court appearance. It’s essential to note that if found guilty of these federal offenses, Mills could face the death penalty.
The four other officers, Demetrius Haley, Tadarrius Bean, Emmitt Martin III, and Justin Smith, remain in custody alongside Mills. They, too, pleaded not guilty to federal charges that include excessive force, failure to intervene, deliberate indifference, conspiracy to witness-tamper, and obstruction of justice.
The second-degree murder charge in this case is described as a “knowing murder” and can result in a prison sentence of 15 to 60 years under Tennessee law.
Nichols, a 29-year-old FedEx driver, was pulled over by Memphis police on Jan. 7 for alleged reckless driving. The traffic stop escalated into a violent confrontation, leading to Nichols being hospitalized and subsequently succumbing three days later, on Jan. 10, to the injuries he’d suffered. Preliminary autopsy results, commissioned by the Nichols family’s attorneys, indicated that he died due to “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating.”
According to reports, Nichols experienced cardiac arrest and kidney failure after the encounter with the officers, who were in unmarked cars and purportedly wearing hoodies. Family attorney Antonio Romanucci described the incident as “an unadulterated, unabashed, nonstop beating of this young boy for three minutes.”
The bodycam footage from the police reportedly showed Nichols being shocked, pepper-sprayed, and restrained after being pulled over just minutes away from his home.
Nichols can be heard asking, “What did I do?” during the encounter, and calling for his mother at the end of the footage.
In a statement, attorney Benjamin Crump pointed out that the preliminary findings from the autopsy indicated that Nichols suffered extensive bleeding from a severe beating, consistent with what was observed in the video footage of the fatal encounter.
DA Mulroy, during a briefing, described the incident as a “tragedy” and referred to Nichols as “an almost perfect son.” He held all five indicted officers accountable, stating, “While each of the five individuals played a different role in the incident in question, the actions of all of them resulted in the death of Tyre Nichols, and they are all responsible.”
David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, strongly condemned the incident, labeling it “absolutely appalling” and stressing that it did not reflect proper policing. He further expressed his shock and dismay at the findings from the investigation after 30 years of experience in law enforcement.