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Sierra Rogers Makes Adjustments At A Makleshift Memorial For Tyre Nichols In Memphis, Tennessee

Source: The Washington Post / Getty

The five former police officers involved in the death of Memphis man Tyre Nichols have been officially indicted by a federal grand jury.

On Tuesday (September 12th), the Justice Department announced that the five former Memphis Police Department officers were indicted on four federal criminal charges in relation to the 29-year-old Black man after he was assaulted on January 7th, accusing them of violating his civil rights. “Tyre Nichols should be alive today. No one in this country should have to bury a loved one because of police violence,” said Kristin Clarke, head of the civil rights division of the Justice Department.

The four counts consist of two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law. The grand jury concluded that the officers – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith – unlawfully assaulted Tyre Nichols and then refused to disclose his injuries to medical responders and willfully refused him medical aid. Nichols would die three days later in the hospital due to injuries sustained from the brutal beating inflicted on him. Those two counts could carry a sentence of life in prison if convicted for each defendant. The other two counts of witness tampering and obstruction carry a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

The federal charges are separate from the charges brought by Tennessee state prosecutors against the former officers, who are also Black. Those charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and official misconduct came after the five were fired and barred from working with law enforcement in the state. Memphis Police Department also disbanded the SCORPION unit they were attached to. The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office welcomed the federal charges, adding that the trials would likely intersect.

“We all heard Mr. Nichols cry out for his mother and say, ‘I’m just trying to go home.’” Said Attorney General Merrick Garland in a video statement before adding, “The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable officers who betray their oath.”

In a statement released to the press afterward, the Nichols family attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci said of the indictments: “We applaud AG Garland and Assistant AG Clarke for their tireless efforts to create federal accountability for these officers who were selected to be part of the Memphis Police Department’s SCORPION unit and savagely ended Tyre’s life, setting a critical precedent for accountability and justice.”

Federal Grand Jury Indicts 5 Officers In Tyre Nichols Death  was originally published on hiphopwired.com