Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

Tyre Nichols death: 5 Memphis officers charged with murder

Five fired Memphis police officers were charged Thursday with murder and other crimes in the killing of Tyre Nichols, a Black motorist who died three days after a confrontation with the officers during a traffic stop.

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told a news conference that although the officers each played different roles in the killing, “they are all responsible.”

The officers, who are all Black, each face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.

Video of the Jan. 7 traffic stop will be released to the public sometime Friday evening, Mulroy said. Nichols’ family and their lawyers say the footage shows officers savagely beating the 29-year-old father and FedEx worker for three minutes.

Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, told The Associated Press by phone that he and his wife, RowVaughn Wells, who is Nichols’ mother, discussed the second-degree murder charges and are “fine with it.” They had sought first-degree murder charges.

https://youtu.be/r3VRm5a2INM

“There’s other charges, so I’m all right with that,” he said.

Earlier this week, Wells called for any protests that happen when the video is released to remain peaceful. He also said he is “ecstatic” that authorities moved quickly in the case.

David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said during the news conference that he saw the video and found it “absolutely appalling.”

“Let me be clear: What happened here does not at all reflect proper policing. This was wrong. This was criminal,” Rausch said.

Court records showed that all five former officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith — were in custody.

The records did not list attorneys for Smith, Bean or Haley. Martin’s lawyer, William Massey, confirmed that his client had turned himself in. He and Mills’ lawyer, Blake Ballin, said their clients would plead not guilty.

“No one out there that night intended for Tyre Nichols to die,” Massey said.

Both lawyers said they had not seen the video.

“We are in the dark about many things, just like the general public is,” Ballin said.

Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison under Tennessee law.

The attorneys for Nichols’ family, Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, issued a statement saying that the charges offer “hope as we continue to push for justice for Tyre.”

“This young man lost his life in a particularly disgusting manner that points to the desperate need for change and reform to ensure this violence stops occurring during low-threat procedures, like in this case, a traffic stop,” they wrote.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who founded and runs the National Action Network and will deliver the eulogy at Nichols’ funeral service next week, called the charges “a necessary step in delivering justice” for Nichols, who was an avid skateboarder and had a 4-year-old son.

“There is no point to putting a body camera on a cop if you aren’t going to hold them accountable when the footage shows them relentlessly beating a man to death,” Sharpton said. “Firings are not enough. Indictments and arrests are not convictions. As we’ve done in the past … we will stand by this family until justice is done.”

At the White House, President Joe Biden said Nichols’ family and the city of Memphis deserve “a swift, full and transparent investigation.”

“Public trust is the foundation of public safety, and there are still too many places in America today where the bonds of trust are frayed or broken,” Biden said in a statement.

The Memphis police chief has called the officers’ actions that night “heinous, reckless and inhumane.”

“This is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual,” Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said in a video statement released late Wednesday on social media.

Davis said the five officers found to be “directly responsible for the physical abuse of Mr. Nichols,” were fired last week, but other officers are still being investigated for violating department policy. In addition, she said “a complete and independent review” will be conducted of the department’s specialized units, without providing further details.

Two fire department workers were also removed from duty over the Nichols’ arrest.

As state and federal investigations continue, Davis promised the police department’s “full and complete cooperation” to determine what contributed to Nichols’ Jan. 10 death.

Mulroy told The Associated Press on Tuesday that local and state investigators wanted to complete as many interviews as possible before releasing the video. The timetable has rankled some activists who expected the video to be released after Nichols’ family and the family’s lawyers viewed it Monday.

Crump said the video showed showed that Nichols was shocked, pepper-sprayed and restrained when he was pulled over for a traffic stop near his home. He was returning home from a suburban park where he had taken photos of the sunset.

Police have said Nichols was stopped for reckless driving and at some point fled from the scene.

The legal team likened the beating to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.

Relatives have accused the police of causing Nichols to have a heart attack and kidney failure. Authorities have only said Nichols experienced a medical emergency.

When video of the arrest is publicly released, Davis said she expects people in the community to react, but she urged them to do so peacefully.

“None of this is a calling card for inciting violence or destruction on our community or against our citizens,” she said.

One of the officers, Haley, was accused previously of using excessive force. He was named as a defendant in a 2016 federal civil rights lawsuit while employed by the Shelby County Division of Corrections.

The plaintiff, Cordarlrius Sledge, stated that he was in inmate in 2015 when Haley and another corrections officer accused him of flushing contraband. The two officers “hit me in the face with punches,” according to the complaint.

A third officer then slammed his head to the ground, Sledge said. He lost consciousness and woke up in the facility’s medical center.

The claims were ultimately dismissed after a judge ruled that Sledge had failed to file a grievance against the officers within 30 days of the incident.


Tyre Nichols: What we know about his death and the Memphis officers charged with murder

Five fired Memphis police officers are facing second-degree murder and other charges in the arrest and death of Tyre Nichols, a Black motorist who died three days after a confrontation with the officers during a traffic stop.

The five officers charged are Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith.

Here’s what we know about Nichols, his death and what led to criminal charges for the officers involved.

Who was Tyre Nichols?

Tyre Nichols was a 29-year-old father and FedEx worker. He was stopped by police on Jan. 7 for reckless driving while returning home from a suburban park where he’d taken photos of the sunset

Police said in a statement the day after the encounter that “a confrontation occurred” as officers approached the vehicle and Nichols ran; they said officers caught up to him and that “another confrontation occurred” while they were taking him into custody. Police said Nichols complained of shortness of breath and was taken to a hospital, where he died three days later.

Attorney Ben Crump, who has seen video of the encounter, said Memphis police officers beat Nichols for three minutes, treating him like “a human piñata.”

Nichols was described by family as a “good kid” who loved skateboarding, photography and his 4-year-old son.

Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, told reporters that his stepson had good reason to run from the officers.

“Our son ran because he was scared for his life,” Rodney Wells said. “And when you see the video, you’ll see why he was scared for his life.”

Relatives have accused the police of causing Nichols to have a heart attack and kidney failure. Authorities have only said Nichols experienced a medical emergency.

RowVaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother, said that on the day of the arrest, her son was looking forward to a chicken she was going to cook for dinner that night.

“All my son was trying to do was come home,” said Nichols’ mother, who sobbed during the news conference and told reporters Nichols was less than 80 yards (73 meters) from home when Memphis police officers “murdered him.”

“We’re going to get justice for my son, Tyre, if that’s the last breath I take,” she said.

Who are the Memphis officers charged with murdering Tyre Nichols?

About a week before they were charged with murder, Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis announced that the five officers involved in the arrest were fired after the police probe determined that they used excessive force or failed to intervene and render aid.

Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.

All five officers are Black, though Crump said that was irrelevant and that Black motorists often are treated differently than Whites regardless of the officers’ race, and that the pain of Nichols’ death “is just the same.”

The Memphis police chief has called the actions of five officers involved in the violent arrest of Nichols “heinous, reckless and inhumane” and urged residents of the predominantly Black city to protest peacefully when video is released.

“This is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual,” Davis said in a video statement released late Wednesday on social media.

Davis said the five officers found to be “directly responsible for the physical abuse of Mr. Nichols,” were fired last week, but other officers are still being investigated for violating department policy. In addition, she said “a complete and independent review” will be conducted of the department’s specialized units, without providing further details.

As state and federal investigations continue, Davis promised the police department’s “full and complete cooperation” to determine what contributed to Nichols’ death.

The U.S. Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into the officers and their actions.

One of the officers, Haley, was accused previously of using excessive force. He was named as a defendant in a 2016 federal civil rights lawsuit while employed by the Shelby County Division of Corrections.

In the complaint, Cordarlrius Sledge stated that he was in inmate in 2015 when Haley and another corrections officer accused him of flushing contraband. The two officers “hit me in the face with punches,” according to the complaint. A third officer then slammed his head to the ground, Sledge said. He lost consciousness, waking up in the facility’s medical center, according to the complaint.

The claims were ultimately dismissed after a judge ruled that Sledge had failed to file a grievance against the officers within 30 days of the incident.

Two fire department workers were also removed from duty over the Nichols’ arrest.

When will the Tyre Nichols video be released?

Police video viewed by the family on Monday showed that Nichols was shocked, pepper sprayed and restrained, Crump said. He said the encounter was reminiscent of the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.

Crump said the video shows the encounter was “violent” and “troublesome on every level.” Romanucci called it “savage” and out of proportion to the alleged offense.

Attorneys said Nichols can be heard on the video crying out for his mother.

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy initially said releasing the video would risk compromising the investigation, but later officials said the video will be released. Mulroy said the video will be released after 6 p.m. Friday (Jan. 27).

Will there be protests in Memphis?

The city has been on edge about the release of the police footage because of the possibility of unrest.

Nichols’ stepfather asked that if there are protests, that they remain peaceful, saying violence “is not what Tyre wanted and won’t bring him back.”

The city’s police chief said she expects the community to react.

“I expect our citizens to exercise their First Amendment right to protest, to demand actions and results, but we need to ensure our community is safe in this process,” Davis said. “None of this is a calling card for inciting violence or destruction on our community or against our citizens.”

In a statement, President Biden said Nichols’ family deserves a “swift, full, and transparent investigation into his death.”

“As Americans grieve, the Department of Justice conducts its investigation, and state authorities continue their work, I join Tyre’s family in calling for peaceful protest,” he said. “Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable. Violence is destructive and against the law. It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice.

“Public trust is the foundation of public safety and there are still too many places in America today where the bonds of trust are frayed or broken,” he continued. “Tyre’s death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

source


‘A failing of basic humanity’:
How five police officers,
were charged with the ‘heinous’ murder
of Tyre Nichols a father and hard working man

Five Memphis officers have been fired after violating multiple department policies in the death of Tyre Nichols as criminal and civil rights investigations are launched. Gustaf Kilander reports

A 29-year-old father died in hospital several days after he was taken into custody by police during a traffic stop.

Now five officers at the Memphis Police Department have been removed from their posts and jailed on second-degree murder charges. source


Tyre Nichols: 5 Fired ex-MPD officers charged with second-degree murder

 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – Five officers involved in the death of Tyre Nichols were taken into custody at 201 Poplar on Thursday morning.

Those former MPD officers are: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmit Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith.

All five are charged with: official misconduct thru unauthorized exercise of official power, official misconduct thru failure to perform a duty imposed by law, official oppression, second-degree murder, aggravated assault – act in concert, aggravated kidnapping causing bodily injury, and aggravated kidnapping while possessing a weapon.

First-degree murder usually falls into one of the following two categories: premeditated, intentional killings and felony murder. Second-degree murder is generally either: an unplanned, intentional killing (reacting in the heat of the moment when angry) or a death caused by a reckless disregard for human life.

Haley and Martin are in jail on a $350,000 bond. Smith, Mills and Bean were booked on a $250,000 bond.

Mills and Smith are now free on bond.

Mills is being represented by attorney Blake Ballin. Martin turned himself in, according to his attorney Bill Massey.

In a press conference Thursday, both attorneys admitted they have not seen the police body camera footage of Nichols’ arrest.

“At this point, we don’t know what proof they have because we have not seen or discovered, and we have not seen the video,” Massey said. “So we are kind of in the blind right now. This process has just started.”

Tyre Nichols, 29, died on January 10, days after a confrontation with police put him in the hospital.

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy held a press conference at 2 p.m. to provide an update on the investigation. Mulroy was joined by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and other members of the DA’s office.

“We understand and acknowledge the grief that the friends and family of Tyre Nichols are experiencing right now,” Mulroy said.

Nichols was pulled over by Memphis police in the Hickory Hill area on January 7 for what was originally reported as reckless driving.

“The actions of all of them resulted in the death of Tyre Nichols, and they are all responsible,” Mulroy said.

Mulroy was joined by TBI Director Davi Rausch during Thursday afternoon’s press conference.

“I’ve been policing for more than 30 years. I’ve devoted my life to this profession and I’m grieved — and frankly, I’m sickened, by what we’ve learned through our extensive investigation,” Rausch said. “Let me be clear. What happened here does not, at all, reflect proper policing. This was wrong. This was a crime.”

The five officers were fired following an internal investigation for their involvement, as well as two EMTs with Memphis Fire being relieved of duty pending the results of their own internal investigation.

MPD determined the officers violated multiple policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid.

The United States Department of Justice and FBI announced the opening a civil rights investigation into the death on January 18.

Tyre Nichols(CNN)

Wednesday night, Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis issued a statement regarding the investigation.

“In light of the horrific circumstances surrounding the death of Tyre Nichols, it is absolutely incumbent upon me, your chief, to address the status of what the Memphis Police Department is doing, has done, and will continue to do in furtherance of finding truth in this tragic loss, ensuring we communicate with honesty and transparency, and that there is absolute accountability for those responsible for Tyre’s death,” Chief Davis said.

Family members and attorneys got the chance to review the police body cam footage Monday before it was publicly released. They also met with Memphis police.

Mulroy said in a statement Thursday that he expects the video to be publicly released sometime after 6 p.m. Friday.

The family retained civil rights attorney Ben Crump and attorney Antonio Romanucci to represent them following Nichols’ death. Crump called the video “appalling, heinous, violent and troublesome.”

Crump said Nichols’ mother was unable to sit through more than a minute of the video. In that first minute, Tyre asked police officers, “What did I do?” Crump said.

Nichols’ funeral will take place at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church on February 1 at 10:30 a.m.

Church officials say Reverend Al Sharpton will be on hand to deliver a eulogy.

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By Jacob Gallantsource


All five officers fired over the death of Tyre Nichols who died after a ‘violent‘ traffic stop;
have been charged with second degree murder and taken into custody

  • FedEx driver Tyre Nichols died on January 10 following a violent altercation with Memphis cops
  • preliminary autopsy showed he suffered ‘extensive bleeding caused by severe beating’
  • Each of the five officers involved in the January 7 altercation have now been arrested and charged in connection with Nichols’ death 

Five fired Memphis police officers were charged on Thursday with second-degree murder over the death of Tyre Nichols – who died three days after being beaten during a January 7 traffic stop.

Demetrius Haley, Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills, Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith, who are all black, are now in custody.

In addition to second degree murder the five were also charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.

On Thursday afternoon DA Steve Mulroy briefed the press, saying his team had moved ‘swiftly, but also fairly’ to review the case that led to the charges against the five officers. He added that the police bodycam footage of the incident will be released sometime after 6pm Central Time on Friday.

Second-degree murder, described by the Memphis District Attorney as a ‘knowing murder,’ is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison under Tennessee law.

Tyre Nichols is pictured in hospital after the incident. The 29-year-old from Memphis died on January 10 from cardiac arrest and kidney failure, three days after he was pulled over for reckless driving by police in unmarked cars

 

This combo of booking images provided by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office shows, from top row from left, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, bottom row from left, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith. The five former Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes in the arrest and death of Tyre Nichols, a Black motorist who died three days after a confrontation with the officers during a traffic stop, records showed Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023

All five former cops were detained on bonds of up to $350,000.

Court records don’t list attorneys for Smith, Bean or Haley. Martin’s lawyer, William Massey, confirmed that his client had turned himself in. He and Mills’ lawyer, Blake Ballin, said they planned to discuss the charges at a news conference later Thursday.

Nichols, a 29-year-old FedEx driver, was pulled over on January 7 by the Memphis police for what was initially reported as reckless driving.

That interaction led to a violent confrontation that put him in the hospital, where he would die three days later (January 10) due to ‘extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating,’ according to preliminary results of an autopsy commissioned by attorneys for his family.

He reportedly suffered cardiac arrest and kidney failure following the allegedly brutal interaction with the officers.

 


Tyre Nichols video: Memphis officials condemn five arrested officers’ ‘criminal’ actions – latest

Tyre Nichols, 29, died on 10 January, three days after traffic stop turned into confrontation with officers

The Memphis police chief is calling for calm ahead of the Friday release of bodycam footage from the “heinous, reckless and inhumane” death of Tyre Nichols – as she warned it will reveal how five police officers failed the Black man, his family and their community and showed a “disregard for basic human rights”.

Nichols, 29, was allegedly violenty beaten by five officers during a traffic stop on 7 January. He died three days later in hospital. An independent autopsy released by his family has since revealed he suffered “extensive bleeding” before his death.

Five former Memphis officers have been charged with murder over the violent arrest.

“The world is watching us and we need to show the world what lessons we can learn from this tragedy,” Shelby County district attorney Steven Mulroy said on Thursday, announcing the charges.

“We all want the same thing,” he added. “We want justice for Tyre Nichols.”

KEY POINTS

  • Five Memphis officers charged with second degree murder and put in jail
  • Memphis braces for release of Tyre Nichols’ bodycam as police chief says it shows ‘heinous, inhumane’ death
  • Tyre Nichols suffered ‘extensive bleeding,’ autopsy shows
  • Why is it taking so long for Memphis police to release the Tyre Nichols body camera footage?
  • Family say Tyre Nichols was beaten ‘like a human piñata’ in Memphis police ‘murder’
  • Lawyer Ben Crump vows to fight for Tyre Nichols

Local officials tear into fired officers for ‘inhumane’ Tyre Nichols stop

The Memphis police chief has called the actions of five officers involved in the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols “heinous, reckless and inhumane” and made a plea to residents of the city to protest peacefully when video of the arrest is released to the public.

“This is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual,” Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said in a video statement that was released late Wednesday on social media.

The five Black officers found to be “directly responsible for the physical abuse of Mr. Nichols,” who also was Black, were fired last week, but Davis said other officers are still being investigated for violating department policy. An addition, she said “a complete and independent review” will be conducted of the department’s specialized units, without providing further details.

Chief: Officers actions in Tyre Nichols arrest ‘inhumane”

The Memphis police chief has called the actions of five officers involved in the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols “heinous, reckless and inhumane” and made a plea to residents of the city to protest peacefully when video of the arrest is released

Memphis is on edge ahead of Tyre Nichols video release

Authorities in MemphisTennessee, are preparing for intense public blowback as they prepare to release “heinous” police body camera footage depicting the events that led to the death of Tyre Nichols.

Mr Nichols, 29, died three days after Memphis police pulled him over for alleged reckless driving on 7 January. A pair of “confrontations” occurred, according to the police, that resulted in Mr Nichols complaining of shortness of breath and requiring hospitalisation. He died in the hospital three days later.

Evidence from an autopsy commissioned by Mr Nichols’ family and their attorney found that Mr Nichols had suffered “extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating.”

Mr Nichols’ family and supporters demanded transparency from the city in its investigation of the death. Now it seems that transparency is on its way, and backlash is likely to follow.

Graeme Massie source