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What will happen to Tyre Nichols killers? On the update of Nicholas’s death, five Memphis police officers have been arrested and charged with murder in the beating death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols on Jan. 7.
“While each of 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,” said Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
Tyre Nichols killers: Will They Be Jail Or Sentenced To Death? What to Know
Nichols’ family’s lawyers said Nichols was killed following what was supposed to be a routine traffic stop that turned into a brutal beating reminiscent of the 1991 assault on Rodney King in 1991.
“The news today from Memphis officials that these five officers are being held criminally accountable for their deadly and brutal actions gives us hope as we continue to push for justice for Tyre,” the attorneys and family said in a statement following the arrests.
Nichols, who is Black, died three days after the traffic stop.
“It was so violently intentional. There really was no purpose or basis to be that violent or brutal against a defenseless human being. I mean, this is a citizen. These Memphis police officers are charged with protecting their citizens and instead they literally unabashedly beat him for over three minutes,” attorney Antonio Romanucci told TIME on Tuesday.
The five officers involved—Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith—were fired on Jan. 20 after an investigation found they “violated multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid.” All of the officers are Black.
(L to R) Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith. The five former Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes in the arrest and death of Tyre Nichols.
Memphis Police Department/AP
In addition to second-degree murder, the officers faced charges of official misconduct, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, and official oppression.
Two firefighters involved in the traffic stop have also been put on leave.
In 2016, Haley, a then-corrections officer, was accused of participating in a prison assault that left one inmate unconscious, according to a complaint filed to the U.S. District Court in Tennessee, NBC reported Wednesday.
Romanucci and fellow attorney for the family Ben Crump said that the video showed that Nichols was pepper sprayed, restrained, and shocked with a stun gun.
Romanucci said that Nichols was a “human pinata for those police officers,” the Associated Press reported.
Nichols worked at a FedEx facility, had a 4-year-old son, and had his mother’s name tattooed on his arm, according to the New York Times. He also had Crohn’s disease and suffered from severe weight loss, ABC News reported. Officials said his family described him as a “cheerful” individual who loves skateboarding and enjoying sunsets over Shelby Farms Park on the city’s east side.
Here’s what to know about the Nichols’ lethal encounter with Memphis police, what investigations are underway, and the official video of the incident.
What did they do to Tyre Nichols?
Crump compared Nichols’ use of pepper spray, tasers, and restraint to Rodney King’s 1991 beating by the Los Angeles Police Department. Crump called the video “heinous,” “appalling,” and “deplorable.”