US officers involved in the death of Tyre Nichols face charges of murder | Police news

The family says Nichols was beaten by officers for three minutes during a traffic stop before he died in a hospital days later.

Five former police officers in the United States will face second-degree murder and other charges in the arrest and death of Tire Nichols, a black driver who died after a traffic stop.

Online records from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee showed Thursday that the five former officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith — were all in custody.

They are charged with second degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official abuse and official oppression. Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison under Tennessee law.

The five men were fired last week following an administrative investigation into the incident.

Family members of Nichols – who saw video of the standoff on January 7 – said the 29-year-old was badly beaten by police before succumbing to his injuries in hospital three days later.

Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, told The Associated Press that while he was seeking first-degree murder charges against the officers, he was “fine” with the charges filed Thursday.

“There are other charges, so I’m okay with that,” he said, adding that he was “overjoyed” that authorities quickly opened the case.

In a video message released Wednesday, Memphis Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis pledged “absolute accountability” for those responsible for Nichols’ death, calling the incident “heinous, callous and inhumane.”

Davis also confirmed that the department will soon release footage of the traffic stop. She called on citizens to express their anger and peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of speech.

“None of this is a calling card to incite violence or destroy our community or against our citizens,” Davis said. “In our hurt, in our anger and frustration, there is still work to be done to build each other up, to continue the momentum of improving our police and community relationships and partnerships.”

Multiple local, state and federal agencies – including the US Department of Justice – are investigating the incident.

Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen, who represents Memphis, also said any protests over the death of Nichols — a FedEx worker and father — should be “peaceful and calm,” expressing confidence in local and federal officials overseeing the case.

“I mourn the life of Tyre Nichols whose life should not have been snuffed out. He was a remarkable young man and it is extremely sad that he died. I’m praying for my city,” Cohen said Thursday in the US House of Representatives.

Police previously said they tried to arrest Nichols on Jan. 7 for reckless driving, but a “struggle” ensued as he tried to flee the scene on foot. Nichols was taken to a local hospital where he died on January 10.

The five officers facing charges in Nichols’ death are also black, but Ben Crump, an attorney representing the victim’s family, said that was irrelevant, stressing that black and brown drivers often face discrimination regardless of the officer’s race.

Crump said police footage shows Nichols was shocked, pepper-sprayed and tied up when he was pulled over near his home.

Nichols’ death comes more than two years after nationwide protests rocked the US with calls for racial justice and an end to police brutality, after a Minnesota police officer killed George Floyd who knelt on his neck.

The US Congress has struggled to pass major police reforms to address the issue of excessive force despite growing calls from activists.

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