Five former officers involved in Tyre Nichols' death plead not guilty

Five former officers involved in Tyre Nichols' death plead not guilty

The five former Memphis, Tennessee, police officers accused in the death of Tyre Nichols have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and other charges.

Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith appeared in court Friday with their attorneys, who entered the not guilty pleas on their behalf.

The officers were fired Jan. 20 and charged with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression and one count of aggravated assault. Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, and stepfather, Rodney Wells, were also present in court with their attorney Ben Crump.

At a news conference after the hearing, Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, said that the officers didn’t have the courage to look her in the eye during the hearing, but that “they’re going to see me at every court date everyone until we get justice for my son.”

Five former officers involved in Tyre Nichols

An administrative investigation by the Memphis police found that the officers allegedly violated multiple policies, including use of excessive force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid in the Jan. 7 traffic stop of Nichols, Davis said.

Nichols was pulled over by the officers and aggressively yanked out of his car, officers shouting a confusing barrage of commands at him, video released by the city shows.

Nichols managed to run to his mother’s neighborhood and was about 80 yards from her house when video captured multiple officers assaulting him as he repeatedly shouted “Mom!”

Police had said that Nichols was supposedly stopped for reckless driving but, according to Davis, an investigation and review of available camera footage had found “no proof” of that. 

Nichols, 29, father of a 4-year-old son, who was an amateur photographer and skateboarder, was hospitalized in critical condition and died three days after the traffic stop.