MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Five former Memphis police officers now face federal civil rights charges in the violent death of Tire Nichols as they continue to fight second-degree murder charges in state courts stemming from the killing.
Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin and Justin Smith were arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Memphis. The four-part indictment accuses each of them of deprivation of rights under the pretext of the law through excessive force and failure to intervene, as well as through deliberate indifference; Conspiracy to commit witness tampering and obstruction of justice through witness tampering.
The new charges come nine months after Nichols was violently beaten by police officers during a Jan. 7 traffic stop near his home in Memphis. Nichols died at a hospital three days later, and the five officers pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and other alleged crimes in connection with the case.
Blake Ballin, an attorney representing Mills in the state criminal charges, said the federal charges are “not unexpected” and that Mills will defend himself against the federal charges since he is in state court. There was no immediate response from attorneys for the other defendants in the case.
Captured on police videoThe beating of 29-year-old Nichols was one of several violent confrontations between police officers and black people that sparked protests and renewed debate about police brutality and police reform in the United States
The Ministry of Justice announced an investigation in July is examining how Memphis Police Department officers use force and make arrests, one of several “patterns and practices” investigations it has conducted in other U.S. cities.
In March, the Justice Department announced it was implementing it a separate review on use of force, de-escalation strategies and special operations units in the Memphis Police Department. So are federal investigators I am specifically concerned with the arrest and death of Nichols. And Nichols’ mother has sued the city and its police chief over her son’s death.
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