Tyre Nichols case: 5 former Memphis police officers charged with second-degree murder

Second-degree murder charges filed after Tyre Nichols died in Memphis on Jan. 10

The five former Memphis Police Department officers fired following the death of Tyre Nichols have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault and other charges.

Jail records show Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith turned themselves in and are now in custody at the Shelby County Jail in Tennessee.

The former officers are each facing seven felony charges, including one count of second-degree murder, one count of aggravated assault, one count of official oppression and two counts each of aggravated kidnapping and official misconduct.

In Tennessee, second-degree murder is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison, according to The Associated Press.

Memphis Police Officers fired after Tyre Nichols death

From left, Desmond Mills, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin and Tadarrius Bean. Each of the Memphis Police Department officers were terminated on Jan. 18 for their role in the arrest of Tyre Nichols. (Shelby County Jail)


"The news today from Memphis officials that these five officers are being held criminally accountable for their deadly and brutal actions gives us hope as we continue to push for justice for Tyre," lawyers Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, who are representing Nichols' family, said in a statement obtained by Fox News Digital.

"This young man lost his life in a particularly disgusting manner that points to the desperate need for change and reform to ensure this violence stops occurring during low-threat procedures, like in this case, a traffic stop," the statement continued. "This tragedy meets the absolute definition of a needless and unnecessary death. Tyre’s loved ones’ lives were forever changed when he was beaten to death, and we will keep saying his name until justice is served."

Memphis police say they pulled over Nichols on Jan. 7 around 8:30 p.m. for "reckless driving" near Raines Road and Ross Road in Memphis.  

A "confrontation occurred" during the stop, at which point Nichols ran away from police on foot. Officers pursued the 29-year-old and attempted to apprehend him, police said.  

"While attempting to take the suspect into custody, another confrontation occurred; however, the suspect was ultimately apprehended," MPD said. "Afterward the suspect complained of having shortness of breath, at which point an ambulance was called to the scene."  

A picture of Tyre Nichols smiling

A portrait of Tyre Nichols is displayed at a memorial service in Memphis, Tennessee, on Jan. 17, 2023. Nichols was killed during a traffic stop with Memphis police on Jan. 7. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)

Authorities transported Nichols to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition, and he died three days later on Jan. 10, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Crump and Romanucci said Tuesday that following an independent autopsy on Nichols’ body carried out by a "highly regarded, nationally renowned forensic pathologist," preliminary findings indicated that "Tyre suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating."

They also said Nichols’ "observed injuries are consistent with what the family and attorneys witnessed on the video of his fatal encounter with police on Jan. 7, 2023."


Authorities have not yet released the video of the traffic stop involving Nichols, or the autopsy.

A photo of Ben Crump

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump speaks at a news conference with the family of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, on Monday. Standing with Crump are Vaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, Nichols' mother and stepfather, and attorney Tony Romanucci, left. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis gave an address Wednesday evening and called Nichols’ death "heinous, reckless and inhumane," cautioning people not to react violently after seeing the footage.

"This is not just a professional failing. This is a failing of basic humanity toward another individual," Davis said, saying the five officers and others who were involved in his death "failed our community, and they failed the Nichols family. That is beyond regrettable."


"In the vein of transparency, when the video is released in the coming days, you will see this for yourselves," she added. "I expect you to feel what the Nichols family feels. I expect you to feel outraged by the disregard for basic human rights as our police officers have taken an oath to do the opposite of what transpired on the video."

The officers were fired for using excessive force and violating other policies. Two Memphis Fire Department personnel also have been fired following Nichols' death. 

Fox News’ Audrey Conklin, Brie Stimson and Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.