Another Rodney King
Five Black policemen charged with the sadistic beating of a Black driver who later died in hospital due to the injuries sustained at their hands
Five former Memphis police officers in the United States were indicted by a grand jury on Thursday on charges including second-degree murder in the death of Tyre Nichols, a Black man who died three days after a traffic stop, the Shelby County district attorney’s office said.
Nichols, a 29-year-old father, died in a hospital on Jan. 10, three days after sustaining injuries during his arrest by the five police officers. Officials are expected to release bodycam footage of the traffic stop on Friday evening.
According to reports Nichols was pulled over on January 7, 2023, for reckless driving on his way home and about 80 yards from his home at the time of the stop.According to police, there was a confrontation as officers approached Nichols, and after he ran there was another confrontation. He was also tasered and pepper-sprayed. Nichols complained of shortness of breath and was hospitalized. He died three days later on January 10. Relatives of Nichols claimed the officers involved were in an unmarked vehicle and that he experienced cardiac arrest and kidney failure because of officers beating him
“We’re here today because of a tragedy that wounds one family deeply but also hurts us all,” District Attorney Steve Mulroy said at a news conference.
The five officers have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and official misconduct, Mulroy said.
The Memphis Police Department on Friday identified them as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith, who are all Black and aged between 24 and 32. Each had served with the department for about 2-1/2 to five years.
They were dismissed from the force last Saturday for violating multiple departmental policies, including using excessive force, failing to intervene and failing to render aid.
“We are waiting to get the indictment. We will know particularly what charges have been brought and we will go from there,” William Massey, the attorney for Martin, said before the announcement.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said on Wednesday. In a video posted on YouTube, she asked for calm when the bodycam footage is made public.
“I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels. I expect you to feel outrage in the disregard of basic human rights,” she said. “I expect our citizens to exercise their First Amendment right to protest, to demand action and results, but we need to ensure our community is safe in this process.”
Recent incidents of police brutality against Black people in the United States have sparked outrage and calls for reforms in policing.
Protests broke out globally following the May 2020 killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes, as well as other incidents in which police killed Black men and women.
The Nichols family viewed the police footage on Monday with their attorney, Ben Crump. He compared the beating to the 1991 Los Angeles police assault on Rodney King that was caught on video and sparked protests and police reforms.
“He was defenseless the entire time. He was a human pinata for those police officers,” Antonio Romanucci, Crump’s co-counsel, told reporters.
The last words heard on the video were Nichols calling for his mother three times, Crump said.
Source Memphis PD/Reuters