Five Memphis Police Department officers have been charged with second-degree murder over the death of Tyre Nichols. Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith turned themselves in and are now in custody at the Shelby County Jail in Tennessee. In Tennessee, second-degree murder is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison, according to The Associated Press. Tyre Nichols was pulled over on Jan. 7 around 8:30 p.m. for “reckless driving” and a “confrontation occurred” during the stop. During the confrontation, Nichols ran away from police on foot where he was eventually apprehended after another confrontation.
“While attempting to take the suspect into custody, another confrontation occurred; however, the suspect was ultimately apprehended,” MPD said. “Afterward the suspect complained of having shortness of breath, at which point an ambulance was called to the scene.” Nichols died three days later after being transported to a local hospital according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Lawyers Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci said the autopsy on Nichols’ body indicated that “Tyre suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating” and his “injuries are consistent with what the family and attorneys witnessed on the video of his fatal encounter with police on Jan. 7, 2023.”
Authorities have not yet released the video of the traffic stop involving Nichols, or the autopsy. Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis called Nichols’ death “heinous, reckless and inhumane,” adding “this is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual,” Davis said, saying the five officers and others who were involved in his death “failed our community, and they failed the Nichols family. That is beyond regrettable.” “In the vein of transparency, when the video is released in the coming days, you will see this for yourselves,” she added. “I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels. I expect you to feel outraged by the disregard for basic human rights as our police officers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video.”