Five former police officers due in court charged with murder of Tyre Nichols

US

Five former Memphis police officers charged with the murder of Tyre Nichols are due to appear in court.

Video footage captured by police bodycams and CCTV cameras showed Mr Nichols, a black man, being beaten by officers following a traffic stop.

He died from his injuries.

The case has renewed calls for police reform in the US, with lawyers for the family of Mr Nichols calling the episode the latest example of systemic problems with police culture and racism ingrained through generations.

Five officers involved, who have since been sacked from the force, face a number of charges including kidnapping and second-degree murder.

Tyre Nichols
Image:
Tyre Nichols

At an arraignment hearing in Memphis today, the charges will be read out against Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr, Justin Smith, Demetrius Haley and Tadarrius Bean – and the men will be given an opportunity to enter a plea.

A sixth officer was sacked by Memphis Police following the incident for his role in the episode. Preston Hemphill was among the officers who pulled Mr Nichols over, although he wasn’t present at the second location where the beating took place.

On bodycam footage, Hemphill is seen to press his taser against Mr Nichols’ leg and threaten to use the weapon. As Tyre runs off, the taser is deployed and Hemphill is heard to say: “I hope they stomp his a**.”

Read more:
Memphis police officer shared pictures after beating
‘Blood will be on hands’ of Congress if bill limiting police officer immunity not passed

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‘I didn’t do anything’, pleads Tyre Nichols

A lawyer for Mr Nichols’ family says that Hemphill should also be indicted for his part in the events that led to his death.

Attorney Antonio Romanucci told Sky News: “Preston Hemphill, I believe, should be facing charges.

“Despite the fact that he was wearing a uniform and a badge and a shield and was lawfully licensed to carry a weapon, you are not allowed to use force when nobody is using force against you.

“There is no evidence at all that Tyre was a threat of harm to him, or a threat to anybody nearby and, if that is correct, Preston Hemphill used disproportionate, unlawful force and therefore that would be criminal.”

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