Five police officers involved in death of black teen Tyre Nichols plead not guilty
The five former Memphis (U.S.) Police officers charged in the murder of young Tyre Nichols last month, have pleaded not guilty in their first court appearance Friday since the 29-year-old black man was beaten to death while in custody.
Ex-cops Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr, Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith, also black, were arraigned Jan. 26 on several charges including. second-degree murderin a case that has also resulted in suspensions for a sixth deputy, two sheriff’s deputies and three Fire Department employees.
Nichols was pulled over on Jan. 7 during a traffic stop for an alleged reckless driving ultimately unsubstantiated. Images of the arrest, released by the Memphis Police, showed how the defendants beat for several minutes the young man with a truncheon and applied several electric shocks with a taser gun.
There was no reason to detain him
Nichols’ death three days later in the hospital sparked a new wave of protests in several cities across the country against police brutality, while Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis has acknowledged that there was no motive for Nichols to be detained by the agents in the first place.
The former agents also have pleaded not guilty of additional charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, misconduct and official oppression. They are now free on bail and the next hearing will be held on May 1, CNN reports.