Friday, June 21, 2024

Tennessee DA drops multiple cases involving former officers charged in Tyre Nichols’ death

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Senior National
Correspondent

The district attorney’s office in Tennessee has dismissed between 30% and 40% cases linked to the five former officers facing second-degree murder charges in the death of Tyre Nichols.

Shelby County District Attorney Steven Mulroy said his team had examined approximately 100 cases involving the accused officers, while noting the team discovered numerous decisions that could face reversal.

Mulroy’s spokesperson, Erica Williams, said charges have already been reduced in approximately 12 other cases involving the ex-Memphis Police officers, in addition to the dismissed cases.

The district attorney forwarded four cases to the U.S. attorney’s office for alleged excessive force.

 

Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills, Emmitt Martin, Justin Smith, and Demetrius Haley are the five officers, who were almost immediately arrested. (Photo via NNPA)

According to Mulroy, the five officers’ blatant lack of credibility throughout the charges also were considered in making these decisions.

The brutal beating of Nichols, 29, captured national attention with civil rights advocates and others quickly denouncing the officers’ actions.

After the release of video of the beating taken from officers’ body cameras, national outcry grew louder.

The episode added to an ongoing series of incidents between the police and the Black community, sparking protests and renewing discussions about police brutality and the need for police reform in the United States.

Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills, Emmitt Martin, Justin Smith and Demetrius Haley, are the five officers, who were almost immediately arrested.

They have pleaded not guilty to an array of criminal charges, including second-degree murder.

Authorities said the officers fatally assaulted Nichols after a routine traffic stop.
The officers were part of the Scorpion crime suppression team, a unit now disbanded since Nichols’ death.

While Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis dissolved the unit, some members joined other divisions within the department.

The Department of Justice recently launched an investigation into the use of force and arrest practices within the Memphis Police Department.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke from the Civil Rights Division noted that even in a predominantly Black city like Memphis, there appears to be a potential disparity in traffic enforcement, disproportionately affecting Black drivers.

The Justice Department initiated a separate review in March, focusing on use-of-force policies, de-escalation strategies, and specialized units within the Memphis Police Department.

Federal investigators are now delving into the specifics of Nichols’ arrest and subsequent death. Nichols’ mother sued the city and its police chief because of her son’s death.
“I think the Tyre Nichols case harmed MPD’s credibility,” Mulroy told reporters.

“I think the DOJ investigation is going to help with that. Either they’re going to find problems and then they’ll give solutions to them, or they don’t find problems and that’ll be good.

“I don’t see the existence of the DOJ investigation as being a threat to the credibility that potential jurors would give to MPD testimony. If anything, I see it as a cure for any such problem.”

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