Tire Nichols murder: Five Memphis police officers arrested for second degree murder
Five former Memphis police officers have been arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Tire Nichols, who died after having multiple “confrontations” with law enforcement during a routine traffic stop.
Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — all former Memphis Police Department officers — have been charged with second-degree murder. The officers were fired last week after an inquest into Mr Nichols’ death.
Follow the latest updates from the Tire Nichols case at The Independents live blog.
Mr Nichols was arrested on January 7 for reckless driving but ended the night in a hospital following “confrontations” with police. He died three days later after meeting the officers.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis announced Wednesday that body camera footage showing the events of Jan. 7 would be released in the coming days.
The former officers each face additional charges, which are aggravated assault – concert act, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression, according to the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.
On the evening of the incident, Mr. Nichols had been arrested by the police for reckless driving. A “confrontation occurred”, according to the officers’ report, which led Mr Nichols to attempt to flee from the officers. They caught up with him and a second “confrontation” would have taken place. Shortly after, Mr Nichols reportedly complained of not being able to breathe and was taken to hospital.
His death three days later prompted demands for transparency from the department and the city about the events immediately preceding his hospitalization.
His family and their lawyer, Ben Crump, commissioned an independent autopsy, which found that Mr Nichols was suffering from “profuse bleeding caused by severe beatings”.
Mr Crump and the family demanded to see police body camera footage of the incident. After reviewing the footage, Mr Crump called it “appalling” and compared it to the police beating of Rodney King in the 1990s.
“It is deplorable. It’s odious. It’s violent,” he told a news conference after reviewing the footage.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis says police body camera footage showing police beating of Alex Nichols will be forthcoming
Ms Davis had a similar description of the events, also calling them ‘heinous’ and a ‘disregard for basic humanity towards another individual’.
She warned that viewers would likely feel “outraged by the disregard for basic human rights”, but urged members of the public who decide to protest to spare the community “violence and destruction”.
Rodney Wells, the father of Mr Nichols, said after reviewing the footage that he and his family believe the former officers should be charged with first degree murder, according to The New York Times.
“Justice for us is murder 1,” he said. “Anything we won’t accept.”
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