Former Memphis Police Officer to Change Plea in Fatal Beating Case of Tyre Nichols

Tyre Nichols

Former Memphis police officer Desmond Mills Jr. is set to change his not guilty plea to federal civil rights violations in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols. Mills will be the first of five officers charged in the case to break ranks with his former colleagues. A change of plea hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, according to court documents and Mills’ lawyer, Blake Ballin.

Mills, along with four other former Memphis Police Department officers, has been charged in federal court with using excessive force, failing to intervene, deliberate indifference, and conspiring to lie after they were caught on camera assaulting Nichols on January 7. Nichols died three days later in a hospital. The federal charges also include obstruction of justice through witness tampering.

The five former officers, including Mills, have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and other charges in state court. Mills’ lawyer stated that he plans to enter a plea agreement in state court as well, but the details of the agreement have not been disclosed.

U.S. District Judge Mark Norris has scheduled a May trial for the officers in the federal case, while a trial date has not been set in state court.

The fatal beating of Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, sparked protests and renewed debate about police brutality and reform in the United States. The five former officers, who are also Black, were fired from the department after Nichols’ death, and the crime-suppression team they were part of was disbanded.

According to Kristen Clarke, the leader of the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division, the five former officers used excessive force, failed to report Nichols’ injuries to medical personnel, and conspired to cover up their misconduct. The indictment alleges that the officers did not inform dispatchers, their supervisor, or emergency medical technicians about the repeated strikes inflicted on Nichols, suggesting an attempt to conceal their use of force and avoid criminal liability. The indictment also mentions instances where the officers manipulated their body cameras to limit the evidence captured at the scene.


Author: CrimeDoor

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