Charged with Murder, In Death of Tyre Nichols Are Five Memphis Police Officers

 January 29, 2023

In connection with the death of Tyre Nichols, who died three days after being stopped by police, five Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder, among other charges. These Officers are: Tadarrius Bean, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, Demetrius Haley, and Desmond Mills.

Reportedly on January 10, Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, died, three days after the above black Memphis police officers stopped him for “reckless driving.” When he was stopped around 8:30 p.m. on January 7, a “confrontation occurred” between Nichols and the police officers according to an initial statement released by authorities. While officers attempted to take Nichols into custody, “another confrontation occurred,”.

In a statement the Memphis Police Department said-

“While attempting to take the suspect into custody, another confrontation occurred; however, the suspect was ultimately apprehended,”. “Afterward the suspect complained of having shortness of breath, at which point an ambulance was called to the scene.”

-Memphis Police Department

Transported to St. Francis Hospital, Nichols where he was reportedly in critical condition, he died days later.

Notably, the Memphis Police Department officers involved were black, which shocked 73-year-old Memphis resident and longtime activist Carrie Louise Pinson. She said-

“I was waiting for their faces to be on TV, and when I saw all Black policemen — how could you do this?”

-Carrie Louise Pinson

According to the New York Times, each of the five officers joined the Memphis Police Department between 2017 and 2020. The officers were reportedly a part of the Memphis Police Department’s SCORPION Unit, which stands for Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods.

A grand jury, on Thursday, returned indictments against all five officers for charges that include kidnapping, official misconduct, official oppression, and second-degree murder. These indictment by the grand jury come after the Memphis Police Department fired each officer last week. Reportedly, a federal civil rights investigation is also underway.

Additionally, the Memphis Fire Department announced that two employees who responded to the scene have been “relieved of duty” amid an internal investigation.

On Thursday, Memphis District Attorney Steven J. Mulroy told reporters-

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

-Steven J. Mulroy, Memphis DA

On Friday, Memphis officials released the body camera footage from Nichols’ traffic stop. Tennessee Bureau of Investigations director David Rausch said-

In a word, it’s absolutely appalling,” …“I’m shocked, I’m sickened by what I saw and what we learned through our investigation,” adding “Let me be clear, what happened here does not reflect proper policing. This was wrong, this was criminal.”

-David Rausch, TN Bureau of Investigations Director

A lawyer for Nichols’ family, Antonio Romanucci, said the video shows the police officers beating Nichols like a “human piñata.”

Cautioning against violent protesting prior to the release of the body camera footage, were community leaders and members of Nichols’ family. Memphis NAACP’s PAC chairman Ian Randolph said-

“My hope is that they all remain peaceful because the last thing we need on top of this tragedy is for a protest to get out of hand,”

-Ian Randolph, Memphis NAACP’s PAC Chairman

On Thursday prior to the tapes release, Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, in her statement said-

“When that tape comes out tomorrow, it’s going to be horrific. I didn’t see it, but from what I hear, it’s going to be horrific. But I want each and every one of you to protest in peace. I don’t want the burning of our city, tearing up the streets,”… “Cause that’s not what my son stood for. And if you guys are here for me and Tyre, then you will protest peacefully.”

-RowVaughn Wells, Nichols’ Mother

A horrific display of torment by these officers, against Nichols, in a moment of rage, has ended a life, deprived a mother of a son, ended five careers, disgraced these officers’ families, the Memphis police department, their black heritage and grieved a whole nation. That there were so many of them against this one man is hard to comprehend Actions have consequences, often reaching down through time. This will be one such case.

“The justifications of men who kill should always be heard with skepticism, said the monster.”

-Patrick Ness,
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