4 ex-MPD officers charged with Tyre Nichols’ murder appear in federal court

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 9:41 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Four of the five former Memphis police officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols were back before a federal judge on Tuesday.

Attorneys for the four say they received 300 hours of audio and visual evidence just last week, so the judge agreed to extend the deadline for pre-trial motions to January 8.

Demetrius Haley, Emmett Martin III, Justin Smith, Tadarius Bean and Desmond Mills all face second-degree murder amongst other charges in this case.

In September, they were all indicted by a federal grand jury on four counts:

  • Deprivation of rights under color of law: Excessive force and failure to intervene
  • Deprivation of rights under color of law: Deliberate indifference
  • Conspiracy to witness-tamper
  • Obstruction of justice: witness-tampering

All five former officers face life sentences in federal prison.

Bill Massey, Emmitt Martin’s attorney, added two new lawyers to his team since the last hearing.

Massey says they plan to keep their plea of not guilty. He says he was surprised to see Desmond Mills change his plea a couple of weeks ago.

Massey added that he expects to be ready by the time the federal trial starts next May.

“There is an awful lot of work to do, there’s no doubt about that. We’ve got a team put together from Mr. Martin,” said Massey. “I will think that we will be doing our best. Be ready on the sixth.”

The attorneys and the U.S. government will come up with questions to select or weed out potential jurors before the trial next May.

Another hearing on whether or not to allow character evidence to be presented during the trial is set for December 4.

The former officers and their attorneys are due back in federal court on December 19.

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