Tyre Nichols: 5 ex-MPD officers charged with second-degree murder

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 9:03 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2023 at 5:46 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Five officers involved in the death of Tyre Nichols were taken into custody at 201 Poplar on Thursday morning.

Those former MPD officers are: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmit Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith.

All five are charged with: official misconduct thru unauthorized exercise of official power, official misconduct thru failure to perform a duty imposed by law, official oppression, second-degree murder, aggravated assault - act in concert, aggravated kidnapping causing bodily injury, and aggravated kidnapping while possessing a weapon.

First-degree murder usually falls into one of the following two categories: premeditated, intentional killings and felony murder. Second-degree murder is generally either: an unplanned, intentional killing (reacting in the heat of the moment when angry) or a death caused by a reckless disregard for human life.

Haley and Martin are in jail on a $350,000 bond. Smith, Mills and Bean were booked on a $250,000 bond.

Mills and Smith are now free on bond.

Mills is being represented by attorney Blake Ballin. Martin turned himself in, according to his attorney Bill Massey.

In a press conference Thursday, both attorneys admitted they have not seen the police body camera footage of Nichols’ arrest.

“At this point, we don’t know what proof they have because we have not seen or discovered, and we have not seen the video,” Massey said. “So we are kind of in the blind right now. This process has just started.”

Tyre Nichols, 29, died on January 10, days after a confrontation with police put him in the hospital.

Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy held a press conference at 2 p.m. to provide an update on the investigation. Mulroy was joined by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) and other members of the DA’s office.

“We understand and acknowledge the grief that the friends and family of Tyre Nichols are experiencing right now,” Mulroy said.

Nichols was pulled over by Memphis police in the Hickory Hill area on January 7 for what was originally reported as reckless driving.

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

Mulroy was joined by TBI Director Davi Rausch during Thursday afternoon’s press conference.

“I’ve been policing for more than 30 years. I’ve devoted my life to this profession and I’m grieved — and frankly, I’m sickened, by what we’ve learned through our extensive investigation,” Rausch said. “Let me be clear. What happened here does not, at all, reflect proper policing. This was wrong. This was a crime.”

The five officers were fired following an internal investigation for their involvement, as well as two EMTs with Memphis Fire being relieved of duty pending the results of their own internal investigation.

MPD determined the officers violated multiple policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid.

The United States Department of Justice and FBI announced the opening a civil rights investigation into the death on January 18.

Tyre Nichols
Tyre Nichols(CNN)

Wednesday night, Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis issued a statement regarding the investigation.

“In light of the horrific circumstances surrounding the death of Tyre Nichols, it is absolutely incumbent upon me, your chief, to address the status of what the Memphis Police Department is doing, has done, and will continue to do in furtherance of finding truth in this tragic loss, ensuring we communicate with honesty and transparency, and that there is absolute accountability for those responsible for Tyre’s death,” Chief Davis said.

Family members and attorneys got the chance to review the police body cam footage Monday before it was publicly released. They also met with Memphis police.

Mulroy said in a statement Thursday that he expects the video to be publicly released sometime after 6 p.m. Friday.

The family retained civil rights attorney Ben Crump and attorney Antonio Romanucci to represent them following Nichols’ death. Crump called the video “appalling, heinous, violent and troublesome.”

Crump said Nichols’ mother was unable to sit through more than a minute of the video. In that first minute, Tyre asked police officers, “What did I do?” Crump said.

Nichols’ funeral will take place at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church on February 1 at 10:30 a.m.

Church officials say Reverend Al Sharpton will be on hand to deliver a eulogy.

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