Five former Memphis police officers arrested for the death of Tyre Nichols have now been indicted in federal court for alleged civil rights violations.
Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith are also facing charges of conspiracy and obstruction offenses resulting in Nichols’ death.
Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, was violently beaten by Memphis police officers in January after being repeatedly punched and kicked by all five officers following a traffic stop and brief a foot chase. He was transported to a local hospital, where he died three days later.
The bodycam footage of the beating was later released to the public, which contradicted the police report.
BREAKING: A federal grand jury has indicted the 5 former Memphis Police officers involved in the beating death of Tyre Nichols. They face multiple federal charges related to deprivation of rights and use of excessive force. pic.twitter.com/CLgCczBu4y— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) September 12, 2023
“The country watched in horror as Tyre Nichols was kicked, punched, tased, and pepper sprayed, and we all heard Mr. Nichols cry out for his mother and say ‘I’m just trying to go home,’” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Officers who violate the civil rights of those they are sworn to protect undermine public safety, which depends on the community’s trust in law enforcement. They dishonor their fellow officers who do their work with integrity every day. The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable officers who betray their oath.”
BREAKING: US Attorney General Merrick Garland has just announced that a Federal Grand Jury has indicted five Memphis police officers who were involved in the the Tyre Nichols killing.— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) September 12, 2023
The officers are: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and… pic.twitter.com/gJ51osU0XD
The initial police report alleged Nichols “started to fight” with officers and even grabbed one of their firearms. The officers also reported that Nichols was pulled over for reckless driving at high speed. Neither claim was substantiated by video of the encounter.
“Tyre Nichols should be alive today,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “It is tragic to see a life cut short at 29, with so many milestones unmet, so many words unsaid, so much potential unfulfilled. These federal charges reflect the Justice Department’s unwavering commitment to protecting the constitutional and civil rights of every American and preserving the integrity of the criminal justice system. We stand ready to hold law enforcement officers accountable for their misconduct because no one is above the law in our country.”
The Memphis Police Department terminated all five.