MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE (REG) — Five former Tennessee police officers were charged Thursday in the beating death of Tyree Nichols, according to online records.
The officers, who were fired after Nichols’ death, were booked into the Shelby County Jail Thursday morning, records showed.
Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith were indicted by a grand jury Thursday and taken into custody.
Smith, Bean, Haley, Martin and Mills were charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct and official oppression.
Nichols, 29, died Jan. 10, three days after a traffic stop by Memphis police that left Nichols critically injured in the hospital.
► Coverage of the Tyro Nichols investigation continues
Shelby County Attorney General Steve Mulroy immediately asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to conduct an independent investigation into the use of force by Memphis police.
Five Memphis police officers were fired last Friday for violating the rules. City officials said they received the message on January 15.
On January 18, US Attorney Kevin Ritz announced that the US Attorney’s Office, in coordination with the FBI and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, has opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Tyre Nichols.
The Nichols family hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump to represent them. The family’s legal team said Nichols was returning to his parents’ home in Hickory Hill after photographing the sunset at Shelby Farms Park.
They said the officers beat Nichols for three minutes in a standoff they compared to the 1991 police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles.
Video of the incident was released by Memphis police to the family.
Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis released the more than four-minute film Wednesday night YouTube video in which she describes the events surrounding Nichols’ death as “heinous, reckless and inhumane.”
► See CJ Davis’ full statement here
“Besides being your police chief, I am a citizen of this community we share; I am a mother, I am a caring person who wants the best for all of us; it is not just a professional failure. It is a lack of basic humanity towards another person. This incident was disgusting, reckless and inhumane; and in the spirit of transparency, when the video is released in the coming days, you will see it for yourself,” she said in part.
In addition to the five officers charged Thursday, Davis said in a statement that other officers are also under investigation.
Two Memphis Fire Department employees have also been relieved of duty pending the investigation.
We spoke with Memphis NAACP President Van Turner about the case and the charges against all five former officers. He said he was not surprised by the allegations against him.
“As a lawyer, you have to look at the standard of evidence that’s required to prove your case, and you have to make sure that you’re able to make those charges, as we say, adhere to and, in fact, the standard that you have to show us by – beyond any reasonable doubt. And that’s why I consider these fines to be adequate. They seem to be spot on with what happened and I believe these are allegations that can be proven in a court of law in front of a jury,” Turner said.