Former officers charged with civil rights violations in Nichols’ death
The Gazette, Colorado Springs
NATION & WORLD
MEMPHIS, TENN. • Five former Memphis police officers were charged Tuesday with federal civil rights violations in the beating death of Tyre Nichols as they continue to fight second-degree murder charges in state courts arising from the killing. Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin and Justin Smith were indicted in U.S. District Court in Memphis. The four-count indictment charges each of them with deprivation of rights under the color of law through excessive force and failure to intervene, and through deliberate indifference; conspiracy to witness tampering, and obstruction of justice through witness tampering. The new charges come nine months after the violent beating of Nichols by police officers during a Jan. 7 traffic stop near his Memphis home. Nichols died at a hospital three days later, and the five officers have pleaded not guilty to state charges of second-degree murder and other alleged offenses in the case. The five former officers charged are Black, like Nichols. “We all heard Mr. Nichols cry out for his mother and say ‘I’m just trying to go home,’” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a video statement after the indictment. “Tyre Nichols should be alive today.” Caught on police video, the beating of the 29-year-old Nichols was one in a string of violent encounters between police and Black people that sparked protests and renewed debate about police brutality and police reform in the U.S.