Tyre Nichols’ Mom Slams Cops for Not Looking at Her in the Face as They Pleaded Not Guilty

All five former Memphis officers charged with murder Nichols Tire—a 29-year-old Black man who was beaten up last month on camera and outraged the nation—has pleaded not guilty to the charges against them in his first trial Friday morning.

The suspects—Tadarrius Bean, Emmitt Martin III, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith and Desmond Mills Jr.—were arrested and charged in January with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.

Tire Nichols’ parents took to the stage with their attorney Ben Crump at a press conference in January.

Pointer Alyssa / Reuters

According to the police charge, RowVaughn Wells, Nichols’ mother, said she still feels “dumbfounded” about her son’s death and that she is living a “nightmare”.

She called officers for apparently refusing to look her in the face during court proceedings — the first time she’s come face to face with those accused of her son’s murder.

“I need every single one of those officers to look me in the face,” Wells said at the press conference. “They didn’t do it, they didn’t have the courage to look me in the face after what they did to my son. They will see me every day in court until we get justice for my son.”

After the suspects pleaded not guilty, Judge James Jones asked all parties involved in the case to be patient.

“We understand there may be some emotional upheaval in this case, but we ask that you continue to be patient with us,” Jones said. “Everyone involved wants this case to be over as quickly as possible. But it’s important for all of you to understand that the state of Tennessee, like each defendant, has an absolute right to a fair trial.”

Jones said he “will not permit any conduct” that would “jeopardize” the legality of the five officers’ trial.

The second-degree murder the group faces carries a sentence of 15 to 60 years in prison.

Nichols died on January 10, three days after he was stopped for allegedly reckless driving — an encounter Nichols fled after it quickly turned violent, according to footage released by the department. the police announced the show.

After escaping on foot, a group of officers from the city’s disbanded SCORPION unit tracked down Nichols and began beating him mercilessly, the video shows. Authorities say it was this attack that killed Nichols.

Footage from both security cameras and officers’ body cameras shows that Nichols never tried to fight back when he was hit.

The officers involved have been released on bail since their arrest last month.

Bean, Martin III, Haley, Smith and Mills Jr. was quickly fired and charged after the beating. The sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, is was later fired but not criminally charged for handling Nichols’ original traffic stop. Bodycam footage captured him using a taser at Nichols and then declaring, “I hope they’ll stomp his ass.”

An attorney for the Nichols family, Ben Crump, said Friday that all rumors surrounding a personal feud between Nichols and one of the officers are untrue.

Crump said: “All the rumors that are circulating are bogus and untrue.

Nichols’ father, Rodney Wells, said Friday was a “glorious day” because it was the first step towards justice for his son. Crump said he hopes the trial will be completed this year, just as George Floyd’s killer was quickly convicted in 2020.

“We have video,” Crump said. “When people in our community do something on a video, it doesn’t take long to prosecute them.”

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