Five former Memphis police officers have been arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 10 death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, a black man.
Now-fired Memphis Police Department officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith—who are also black—have been accused of severely beating Nichols during a Jan. 7 traffic stop.
On Thursday, the five officers were charged with second-degree murder. The officers were also charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping resulting in bodily injury, aggravated kidnapping involving possession of a weapon, official misconduct through the unauthorized exercise of power, official misconduct through the failure to act upon a lawful duty, and official oppression.
All five officers face the same set of charges.
Nichols was initially pulled over for a traffic stop for reckless driving. During the stop, Nichols and the responding officers reportedly had a "confrontation" after which Nichols fled. When the officers caught up with Nichols, they allegedly beat him.
Nichols died in a hospital on Jan. 10, three days after sustaining injuries during his arrest.
Attorneys for the other former officers could not immediately be reached for comment.
City Bracing for Arrest Footage ReleaseAfter viewing the arrest footage, Nichols's step-father, Rodney Wells, said the footage was "horrific" and no father or mother "should have to witness what I saw today."
While announcing the decision to fire the five MPD officers on Friday, MPD Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis said "the Memphis Police Department is committed to protecting and defending the rights of every citizen in our city" and "the egregious nature of this incident is not a reflection of the good work that our officers perform, with integrity, every day."
"I expect our citizens to exercise their First Amendment right to protest to demand action and results, but we need to ensure our community is safe in this process," Davis said. "None of this is a calling card for inciting violence or destruction on our community or against our citizens."