The five Memphis police officers fired after the fatal beating of motorist Tyre Nichols have each been charged with murder, according to local reports.
The officers surrendered and were being held at the Shelby County jail, Tennessee’s Action News 5 reported Thursday.
All five will face charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression in addition to second-degree murder.
“While each of the five individuals played a different role in the incident in question, the actions of all of them resulted in the death of Tyre Nichols, and they are all responsible,” Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said.
The former officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — were fired last week for excessive use of force, failing to intervene, and failing to render aid to Nichols, who the department said had been pulled over for suspected reckless driving.
Police Chief Cerelyn Davis described the beating of Tyre Nichols (above) as “heinous, reckless, and inhumane.”Family of Tyre Nichols
The 29-year-old father died in a hospital three days after he was pulled over by police on Jan. 7.
“There was an initial traffic stop — we won’t comment right now on the presence or absence of the legality of the stop, but there was a stop,” Mulroy said when asked about the timeline of events.
“There was an initial altercation,” he said, adding “pepper spray was deployed.”
Nichols then fled on foot, Mulroy said. Police caught up to him, sparking “another altercation at a nearby location, at which the serious injuries were experienced by Mr. Nichols.”
After the beating, Mulroy said, an ambulance arrived “after some period of time of waiting around.”
The city of Memphis is expected to release body camera footage from the beating Friday evening.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation head David Rausch, whose department is leading the ongoing investigation into the officers’ conduct, said he was “sickened” by what he witnessed on the body camera footage.
“I’ve seen the video … you will too,” he told reporters. “In a word, it’s absolutely appalling.”
Police Chief Cerelyn Davis issued a video statement Wednesday night in which she described Nichols’ beating as “heinous, reckless, and inhumane.”
Two Memphis Fire Department employees involved in Nichols’ care after he was beaten by police have also been removed from duty pending an investigation.
“This is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity towards another individual,” Davis said, adding that the officers had “failed our community, and they failed the Nichols family. This is beyond regrettable.”
The accused officers surrendered and remained in custody at the Shelby County jail, Tennessee’s Action News 5 reported Thursday.
Mullroy and Rausch said the investigation into Nichols’ death was ongoing, and further charges could yet be filed against additional suspects.
“We all want the same thing,” Mulroy said. “We want justice for Tyre Nichols.”