MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The five former Memphis police officers
charged with the murder of Tyre Nichols now face federal charges.
Emmitt Martin III, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith were served a federal indictment for four counts:
Deprivation of rights under color of law: Excessive force and failure to intervene Deprivation of rights under color of law: Deliberate indifference Conspiracy to witness-tamper Obstruction of justice: witness-tampering
The officers are all
charged with second-degree murder, among other charges, for the death of 29-year-old Nichols.
National civil rights attorney
Ben Crump responded to the federal charges in a news conference at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church at 5 p.m. Tuesday along with attorney Antonio Romanucci and Nichols’ family.
The news today from the United States Justice Department that there will be criminal accountability on the federal level for Tyre’s death gives his family hope as they continue to grieve his loss and inspire change in his honor. We applaud AG Garland and Assistant AG Clarke for their tireless efforts to create federal accountability for these officers who were selected to be part of the Memphis Police Department’s SCORPION unit and savagely ended Tyre’s life, setting a critical precedent for accountability and justice.
The country watched in horror as Tyre Nichols was kicked, punched, tased, and pepper sprayed, and we all heard Mr. Nichols cry out for his mother and say ‘I’m just trying to go home. Officers who violate the civil rights of those they are sworn to protect undermine public safety, which depends on the community’s trust in law enforcement. They dishonor their fellow officers who do their work with integrity every day. The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable officers who betray their oath.
Tyre Nichols died in the hospital several days after he was beaten. The
attack was captured on video.
Tyre Nichols should be alive today. It is tragic to see a life cut short at 29, with so many milestones unmet, so many words unsaid, so much potential unfulfilled. These federal charges reflect the Justice Department’s unwavering commitment to protecting the constitutional and civil rights of every American and preserving the integrity of the criminal justice system. We stand ready to hold law enforcement officers accountable for their misconduct because no one is above the law in our country.”
MPD determined the officers violated multiple policies,
including excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid.
A trial date is expected be set on September 15 at the former officers’ next court appearance. By then, it will be decided if there will be one joint trial or separate trials for the suspects.
When I announced this investigation back in January, I said I wanted this city to be a place where justice is done. This indictment alleging civil rights violations is an important step in ensuring that justice is done for Tyre Nichols. I want to thank the dedicated team of prosecutors and law enforcement agents who are working on this case. I’m proud of our team and proud of their commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans.”
We have been expecting this federal indictment and it does not cvhange Mr. Mill’s position. As in the state case, Mr. Mills maintains his innocence. He will turn himself in on the federal indictment and continue to defend himself against all allegations in both the state and federal court systems.
I and my team will be representing Emmitt Martin in the federal indictment. We have been expecting it and are ready to move forwarrd.
Trusted law enforcement requires public accountability. In such an egregious violation of Tyre Nichols’ civil rights, it is the duty of federal authorities to act. I appreciate the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s thoughtful and diligent work pursuing this case. Similarly, I commend U.S. Attorney Kevin Ritz for making his office so responsive to the community.
The indictments issued today against the police officers involved in the tragic death of Tyre Nichols are a step forward for our community. Accountability is essential for maintaining trust in our law enforcement agencies.
This moment also serves as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to ensure justice for all. We are grateful for Attorney General Kristen Clarke and the U.S. Department of Justice as well as their efforts to protect the rights of our citizens.
Our thoughts are with Tyre’s family as the continue healing through this process.
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