US: 5 cops charged with murder for Tyre Nichols' death
Five former Memphis police officers in Tennessee, United States, were charged with second-degree murder and other crimes on Thursday in the death of Tyre Nichols (29), a FedEx employee. Nichols died several days after an encounter with the officers during a traffic stop. Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy stated that, while the officers played different roles in the killing, "They are all responsible."
Why does this story matter?
- The case gained attention because Nichols, like the other five accused, was African-American.
- On January 7, the accused allegedly pulled Nichols over for reckless driving near his mother's house.
- He was pepper-sprayed and tased before being restrained. He passed away three days after the assault.
- The police department initially claimed that Nichols fled when approached by officers and that a confrontation ensued.
Deceased survived by four-year-old son
A grand jury indicted Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Emmitt Martin III, and Justin Smith for aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression, apart from second-degree murder. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch announced the charges during a press briefing while describing the incident as "wrong and criminal." Nichols, an avid skateboarder, is survived by a four-year-old son.
Two accused released from jail after posting $250,000 bond each
Mills and Smith were released from jail on Thursday night after posting a $250,000 bond each, while the others remained in custody. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said it was clear that the officers violated the department's policies and training. Memphis Police Director Cerelyn Davis said, "This is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual."
Assault left Nichols bloody, swollen and unconscious
The video of the traffic stop and the subsequent violence was shown to Nichols' parents and their lawyers. The three-minute assault on Nichols left him "bloody, swollen, and unconscious." The video shows him repeatedly calling for his mother while under assault. He was less than 100 m away from his mother's home, where he returned every night at 7 pm for his meal break.
Two firemen involved in initial care also fired
The police department fired all five of the accused last week. Two fire department personnel involved in his initial care have also been relieved of duty. Second-degree murder is a Class A felony punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison under Tennessee law.