One of five fired Memphis cops seen beating Tyre Nichols to death on horrifying ... trends now
One of the five fired Memphis police officers seen beating Tyre Nichols to death on a horrifying video pleaded guilty and now faces up to 15 years in prison.
Desmond Mills Jr. entered his guilty plea during a hearing at the Memphis federal courthouse on Thursday as part of a larger agreement to settle charges in state court.
Mills pleaded guilty to federal charges of excessive force and obstruction of justice and agreed to plead guilty to related state charges.
Mills also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. The final sentencing decision rests with the judge. Mills remains free on bail ahead of his May 22 sentencing hearing.
He is the first of five to plead guilty in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols. It's unclear if the other officers will follow suit.
Tyre Nichols, 29, died in hospital on January 10, three days after a traffic stop that ended with him being severely injured
Charged with second degree murder are (top, left to right) Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, and (bottom, left to right) Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith. Desmond Mills Jr. entered his guilty plea during a hearing at the Memphis federal courthouse on Thursday
Attorneys for three of the officers declined to comment and William Massey, the lawyer for Emmitt Martin, said in an email to the Associated Press, that they 'will stay the course' with the former officer´s criminal defense.
Nichols´ mother, RowVaughn Wells, shook as she described hearing how five large men beat her skinny son.
'This one today was very difficult for me because this was really the first time I actually heard somebody tell and say what they actually did to my son,' she told reporters outside the courthouse.
'So, this was very difficult. But I´m hoping that Mr. Mills, it was his conscience that allowed him to make this plea agreement, and not because of his lawyers telling him it was the right thing to do.'
Caught on police video, the beating of Nichols in January was one in a string of violent encounters between police and Black people that sparked protests and renewed debate about police brutality and the need to for police reform in the U.S. The five former officers who were charged also are Black.
The five - Mills, Martin, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley and Justin Smith - pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and other charges in state court. Mills is the first to agree to plead guilty.
The video released in January shows Nichols, 29, crying out for his mother multiple times during the brutal January 7 assault, which took place just 80 yards from his home.
'Mom! Mom!' Nichols screams as he is pinned to the ground by multiple officers, pepper sprayed in the face, kicked and punched in the head, while struck with a metal baton.
The shadow of the officer wearing this bodycam is seen as he raises his arm holding a metal telescopic baton, after saying 'I'm gonna baton the f*** out of him!'
It shows police rained at least nine blows down on the FedEx worker while screaming profanities throughout the nearly four-minute altercation.
Even after paramedics arrived, a handcuffed Nichols remained slumped over on the pavement for nearly half an hour without significant medical intervention.
All five officers involved in the killing faced second-degree murder charges, with the district attorney saying that though they played different roles, 'they are all responsible.'
The violent incident begins with a traffic stop, where multiple unmarked cop cars surround Nichols' vehicle and officers drag him from the driver's seat as one yells, 'Get the f*** out of the f****** car.'
'D**n, I didn't do anything ... I am just trying to go home,' responds Nichols.
'On the ground, on the ground,' an officer says as cops force Nichols to the ground, order him to lay on his stomach and squirt him in the face with pepper spray.
'Alright, I'm on the ground,' Nichols can be heard saying, with a cop responding profanely: 'B***h, put your hands behind your back before I …. I'm going to knock your ass the f*** out.'
'Get on the f****** ground. I'm going to tase you,' one cop says.
'You guys are really doing a lot right now. I'm just trying to go home,' says Nichols.
Several cops begin kicking Nichols as he lies on the ground. Nichols then breaks free, scrambles to his feet and sprints away down a road with officers chasing him on foot.
One officer fires a taser at Nichols, but later remarks that only one prong struck him, meaning the circuit was not completed and the electric shock was not delivered.
After running for roughly half a mile, Nichols is tackled and held down by two other officers involved in the pursuit, who repeatedly shout 'give me your hands!'
Other cops are seen arriving on foot as Nichols is being pinned down. One sprays pepper spray at Nichols, also hitting himself in the face.
Tyre Nichols is pictured in hospital after the incident. The 29-year-old from Memphis died on January 10 from cardiac arrest and kidney failure, three days after he was pulled over for reckless driving by police in unmarked cars
Crump spoke at a press conference on Friday, ahead of the graphic body cam footage of Tyre being beaten to death by the officers being released by authorities at 7pm EST
President Biden urged for calm before the video release, saying: 'Violence is destructive and against the law. It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice'
Two officers hold Nichols to the ground as he moves about, then the third appears to kick him in the head.
Nichols slumps more fully onto the pavement with all three officers surrounding him. The same officer kicks him again.
The officer who used the pepper spray then extends a telescoping metal baton, shouting, 'I'm gonna baton the f*** out of him!' before striking Nichols three times in the back.
Several officers are seen propping Nichols up on his feet as one and punches his face. Nichols stumbles and turns, still held up by two officers.
The cop who punched him then walks around to Nichols' front and punches him three more times. Then Nichols collapses.
Nichols is heard repeatedly screaming, 'Mom! Mom!' during the struggle, but goes silent after blows to his face. His mother has said the beating occurred only about 80 yards from her home.
After Nichols is handcuffed, he appears to be unresponsive and unable to sit upright.