Three Memphis Police Officers Charged in Tyre Nichols’ Death Want Separate Trials
For their involvement in the January death of Tyre Nichols, three Memphis police officers’ requests to have separate trials will now be heard before a judge. The hearing has been set for Sept. 15.
If the request is granted, Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills, and Justin Smith will face Judge James Jones Jr. in their distinct trials as they deal with the multiple charges, including second-degree murder. ABC News reports that three three former officers, and the two not involved with the motion, have pleaded not guilty.
All five law enforcement officials were fired for their gross mishandling of Nichols, who was pulled over Jan. 7, 2023 for a traffic violation that led to his death. The situation, caught on video, showed the officers relentlessly punching and kicking Nichols as he cried out for his mother. Once they stopped, video footage also revealed the officers taking pictures of Nichols and his battered body.
Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, died at the local hospital a few days later.
Mills claims that a separate trial is critical, as he was not present at the traffic stop where the beating initially started. According to his attorney, following through with the original plans for a joint trial will have him on the stand for crimes he was not a part of.
However, the Deputy District Attorney Paul Hagerman believes separate trials are unnecessary and will push that the officers are tried together.
To this day, no evidence has been released to the public on why the officers issued a traffic stop on Nichols.
The shocking case gained national attention as the race of all parties–the officers charged were Black—showed that police brutality in the U.S. is a deeply rooted systemic issue. Nichols’ death offered a revelation on the role diverse representation in law enforcement has in police interactions with minorities.