The five former Memphis police officers charged with murder after the death of Tyre Nichols have pleaded not guilty.
Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr, Demetrius Haley, and Tadarrius Bean were each charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression after the violent arrest of Nichols on January 7.
The officers were caught on camera pulling Nichols out of his car, beating him, and pepper spraying him while he wasn’t resisting. Nichols later died from injuries sustained in the incident.
The five former officers did not speak at the hearing, and their attorneys entered their not guilty pleas for them.
‘We understand that there may be some high emotions in this case, but we ask that you continue to be patient with us,’ Judge James Jones Jr said. He scheduled the next hearing for the former cops for May 1.
‘Everyone involved wants this case to be concluded as quickly as possible,’ Jones added. ‘But it’s important for you all to understand that the state of Tennessee, as well as each one of these defendants, have an absolute right to a fair trial.’
After the hearing, Nichols’ mother and stepfather held a press conference with their attorney Ben Crump.
‘This is a glorious day,’ stepfather Rodney Wells said. ‘This is the beginning of the process.’
Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, said she still felt ‘numb’ and that she was living through a ‘nightmare,’ but also said she would return with her husband for every hearing for the officers.
‘I want each and every one of those police officers to be able to be able to look me in the face,’ she said. ‘They haven’t done that yet. They couldn’t even do that today.’
‘They’re going to see me at every court date – every one – until we get justice for my son.’
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