Five former police officers were charged with murder for beating a young African-American man to death in the US
The former officers are in custody and face various criminal charges. Video footage of the arrest has not been released publicly, but authorities have promised to release it this week or next
Officers who were detained after their involvement in a traffic stop that ended in the death of Tire Nichols, pose in an undated combination photo in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. From left to right, Officers Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr., Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, and Tadarrius Bean. Memphis Police Department/Handout via REUTERS
Five former Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes in the arrest and death of Tire Nichols, a black motorist who died three days after a confrontation with officers during a traffic stop, records showed Thursday.
Shelby County Sheriff's Department online records show Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith are in custody. All five are charged with second degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
The defendants, all African-American, were fired from the police force last week after authorities determined they were directly responsible for the 29-year-old's death.
Defense attorney William Massey confirmed to The Associated Press that his client, Emmitt Martin III, had been charged and turned himself in to authorities.
It is currently unclear if Smith has an attorney to speak on his behalf regarding the charges. Blake Ballin, Mills' attorney, said he plans to hold a news conference later Thursday.
Tyre Nichols, who died in a hospital on January 10, three days after he was injured during his arrest by police officers, is seen in this undated image obtained from social media. Facebook/Deandre Nichols/via REUTERS
Second degree murder is a class A felony punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison under Tennessee law.
Nichols' stepfather, Rodney Wells , told the AP by phone that he and his wife RowVaughn Wells, who is Nichols's mother, discussed the second-degree murder charges and are “fine with it.” They had pressed charges of first degree murder.
“There are other charges, so I'm fine with that,” he said. They said they were “pleased” that authorities have acted quickly in the case.
Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said he will provide an update Thursday afternoon on investigation by state authorities.
Video footage of the arrest has not been released publicly, but authorities promised to release it this week or next.
< p class="paragraph">The Memphis Police Chief has asked citizens to demonstrate peacefully, in anticipation of public response to the video.
According to the lawyer representing the victim's family, the images show the five agents attacking the young man with electric shocks and pepper spray. The beating lasted about three minutes.
With information from AP and EFE