THE five former Memphis police officers accused of brutally beating and killing Tyre Nichols have pleaded not guilty.
Demetrius Haley, Emmett Martin III, Justin Smith, Desmond Mills Jr, and Tadarius Bean all appeared in a Memphis courtroom on Friday, their first hearing since the death of Nichols more than five weeks ago.
3The five former Memphis police officers who brutally beat and murdered Tyre Nichols last month have pleaded not guiltyCredit: AP:Associated Press3All five suspects appeared in court wearing face masksCredit: WWMC3Body cam footage showed the officers punching, kicking, tasing and pepper spraying the 29-year-old victimCredit: ReutersThe suspects, who were all standing beside their attorneys, wore black face masks and said nothing as the judge read the charges.
Following the pleas, the judge asked for everyone to be patient, noting that this case may take a long time to settle.
All five men were arrested and indicted last month on felony charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
They’ve all been free on bond.
The brutal beating occurred on January 7 after the officers pulled Nichols over for suspected reckless driving.
The traffic stop led to a confrontation that caused Nichols, 29, to flee on foot.
Law enforcement officials eventually located the 29-year-old victim and a second confrontation occurred before he was detained.
‘I’M TRYING TO GO HOME’
Officers pulled Nichols out of his car and screamed at him to get out of the ground while he yelled, “I didn’t do anything,” and “I’m just trying to go home.”
While handcuffed, bodycam footage and video from a nearby police surveillance camera showed the five officers mercilessly punching, kicking him in the face, tasing him, and pepper spraying him for three minutes while he screamed for his mother.
Footage appeared to show Nichols never attempted to resist arrest or fight back.
After the beating, he writhed in the pain for roughly 20 minutes before emergency responders began treating him.
Moments later, a video showed the five cops standing around Nichols’ body laughing when one officer said: “That was fun.”
Nichols died on January 10, three days after the brutal beating.
The tragedy has since been likened to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.
Memphis Police Director Cerelyn Davis described the actions as “heinous, reckless, and inhumane” and said they have yet to find proof that Nichols was driving recklessly.
President Joe Biden addressed the video in a statement, saying he was “outraged and deeply pained” after viewing the footage.
“It is yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day,” the president wrote.
He had an emotional phone call with Nichols’ family days before the video was released.
Vice President Kamala Harris said: “Tyre Nichols should have made it home to his family.
“Yet, once again, America mourns the life of a son and father brutally cut short at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve.”
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Story Credit: thesun.co.uk