The five police officers charged with the murder of Tire Nichols plead not guilty
Tyre Nichols on the ground after his muscular arrest by Memphis police officers.
The five police officers charged with murder after the fatal beating in January of African-American Tire Nichols, a case that raised fears of a social conflagration and in which the White House was heavily involved, have pleaded not guilty on Friday.
Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III and Desmond Mills Jr had been charged with murder, aggravated bodily harm, aggravated kidnapping, professional misconduct and abuse by person in public authority.
The officers, who are themselves black and were fired after the fact, appeared before a judge on Friday in Memphis, Tennessee, accompanied by their attorneys who said that they pleaded not guilty. Tyre Nichols' mother, RowVaughn Wells, was present in the courtroom, as was his attorney Ben Crump, who has been very active in cases of police brutality.
The next hearing has been set for May 1.
The five police officers involved in the arrest of Tire Nichols have been fired, arrested and charged with murder, battery and kidnapping.
Judge James Jones Jr called on the defendants and the assistance to be patient, urging the ex-police officers to work and cooperate with their lawyers.
We understand that there may be strong emotions in this matter, but we ask that you continue to be patient with us. Everyone involved wants the case closed as soon as possible, he then told the room.
But it is important for all of you to understand that the State of Tennessee, as well as each of these defendants, has the absolute right to a fair trial, and I will not permit any behavior that jeopardizes that right. he warned.
At a press conference after the hearing, Ben Crump appeared to respond to the magistrate by demanding action quickly.
We don't want this to last forever. We have videos, he launched.
Images of the arrest were indeed made public and broadcast at the end of January on the largest channels in the country, showing the extent of the young man's ordeal and the relentlessness of the police, with their fists. , foot and truncheon.
His entire family deserves a transparent, full and prompt investigation, said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.
Tyre Nichols'm's mother has said she will attend all court hearings until justice is achieved for my son.
And I want every one of those cops to be able to look me in the eye. They haven't done it yet (…), they haven't even had the courage to look me in the eye after what they did to my son, he said. she adds.
Tyre Nichols, 29, was arrested on January 7 by officers from a special unit in Memphis, in the southern United States, for a violation of the Code of the road according to the police.
But beaten relentlessly, so much so that he was unrecognizable according to his family, he died three days later in hospital.
Ben Crump insisted on Friday strongly denying salacious rumors mentioning a personal reason (a connection between the victim and one of the police officers) which would have caused the arrest.
These rumors circulating are bogus and false, he hammered.
This incidental question has nothing to do with why this happened to Tire Nichols, he added.
The unit to which agents had a systematic tendency to do this to black people in Memphis. That's it. No need to go any further, he insisted.
The White House was heavily involved in the case.
President Joe Biden had called Tire Nichols' parents, and his vice president, Kamala Harris, had attended his funeral.
The young man's parents had also been invited to President Biden's big State of the Union speech in Washington.
His death was reminiscent of that of African-American George Floyd, killed by a white police officer in May 2020. Demonstrations against racism and police violence then ignited the countries, united around the slogan Black Lives Matter.