Last Updated on February 17, 2023
All five of the former Memphis Police Department officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols case pleaded not guilty Friday.
The five officers, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III, and Desmond Mills Jr. are facing charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, second-degree murder, and official misconduct and official oppression.
The officers, who were swiftly fired after the Jan. 7 death of Tyre Nichols, are facing up to 60 years in prison with second-degree murder charges.
The Shelby County Criminal Court’s Judge James Jones called on both sides to ease their emotions. “We understand that there may be some high emotions in this case, but we ask that you continue to be patient with us,” Jones said.
“It’s important for you all to understand that the state of Tennessee, as well as each one of these defendants, have an absolute right to a fair trial. And I will not allow any behavior that could jeopardize that right,” he added.
Bean’s lawyer contested that the former Memphis officer was merely “doing his job” during Nichols’ death.
Bean’s lawyer added that the only regret the officer had was “being a Memphis police officer on that night, because he wouldn’t have been called to the job.”
All five defendants are out on bail and their next hearing is scheduled for May 1.
Stay tuned to National File for any updates.