The Five Memphis Officers Charged With Tyre Nichols’ Death Plead “Not Guilty”

Written By Michael Omoruan

How Sway?

The five Memphis police officers charged with the alleged killing of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols recently pleaded not guilty. Earlier this month, Nichols’ funeral was led by his family and friends.

Tyre Nichols
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Updated By: Michael Omoruan (2/17/23 at 3:03 pm)

In a shocking turn of events, the five Memphis police officers charged for allegedly brutally beating and killing Tyre Nichols pleaded not guilty in the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center in Memphis, Tenn. on Feb. 17. 

The defendants, Emmitt Martin III, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr, Justin Smith, and Tadarrius Bean have each been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. 

Celebrities have weighed in on the horrific footage released of the officers beating Tyre, including Barack and Michelle Obama.

“The vicious, unjustified beating of Tyre Nichols,” The Obamas’ post read. “And his ultimate death at the hands of five Memphis police officers is just the latest, painful reminder of how far America still has to go in fixing how we police our streets.” 

The Parents Of Tyre Nichols Lead Heartbreaking Funeral Service

The Funeral of Tyre Nichols, who was killed due to injuries from a violent arrest by Memphis police, was held on Feb. 1. His surviving family and Vice President Kamala Harris were also in attendance.

The funeral for the late 30-year-old Tyre Nichols was held on Feb. 1. Public figures, including Reverend Al Sharpton and Vice President Kamala Harris, attended the service. 

Updated By: Michael Omoruan (2/3/23 at 4:44 pm)

Remembering Tyre

Nichols’ family, including his parents, Royvaughn and Rodney Wells, were visibly distraught at his passing. They both stood at the pulpit to address those who could attend.

“First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you for coming out to pay tribute to my son,” his mother, Royvaughn said tearfully.  “Tyre was a beautiful person, and for this to happen to him is just unimaginable.”


The family of Tyre Nichols speaks with mourners at the funeral today in Memphis. #hiphop #hiphopnews #music #sohh #sohhdotcom #tyrenichols #funeral #justice #restinpeace

♬ original sound – SOHH

His father, Rodney,  spoke of seeking justice for the officers who murdered his son and his goals in preventing future tragedies like the one the Nichols family are going through. 

“We’re looking forward to passing some bills. We’re looking forward to getting justice for all the families over there, not just others… We cannot continue to let these people brutalize our kids.”


The family of Tyre Nichols speaks with mourners at the funeral today in Memphis. #hiphop #hiphopnews #music #sohh #sohhdotcom #tyrenichols #funeral #justice #restinpeace

♬ original sound – SOHH

Omega Psi Phi Denounces The 3 Officers Involved In The Brutal Killing Of Tyre Nichols

The Black Greek fraternity Omega Psi Phi has denounced and rescinded the membership of three of the officers involved in the brutal attack on Tyre Nichols.  The prestigious organization counts among its notable members’ poet laureate Langston Hughes, Michael Jordan, and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

While funeral services were underway on Tuesday (1/31)  in Memphis for Tyre Nichols, the Omega Psi Phi fraternity denounced the three Black officers involved in the senseless attack of Tyre Nichols. 

The denouncement follows after the fraternity originally faced backlash for releasing a general statement acknowledging the death of the 30-year-old skateboarder without mentioning that three of the officers were members of the frat. 

In a statement on official Omega Psi Phi fraternity letterhead, Ricky L. Lewis, who is the current Grand Basileus of the 111-year-old organization, offered his condolences to the family as he condemned the three officers.

“A few days ago, on behalf of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated, we joined with all other caring, thoughtful, decent, and fair-minded people in America and around the world in extending our deepest sympathy to the family of Tyre Nichols.” 

The statement continued, “We have since learned that three of the former Memphis police officers involved in the horrific incident were members of our organization. That is devastating! Effective immediately, the Fraternity has revoked the membership of the three former Memphis police officers and all related privileges they may have enjoyed as members of our Fraternity.”

Updated By: Nicole Bartley (2/1/23 at 5:41 pm)

6th Memphis Police Officer Who Brutalized Tyre Nichols “Relieved” Of Duty

Memphis police identified a sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, a white officer who was also involved in the brutal killing of Tyre Nichols. Hemphill was the third responding officer, according to body cam footage released on Jan. 27.

Updated By: Nadya Nataly (1/30/23 at 3:24 pm)

Amid the investigation of the death of Tyre Nichols, Memphis police identified Preston Hemphill as the sixth officer relieved of duty.

“…And by ‘relieved of duty’ they mean administrative leave,” Olayemi Olurin, attorney and political commentator, clarified on Twitter.

In a separate tweet, Olurin also said the five Black officers including one white officer brutalized Nichols to death. However, the white officer was not mentioned and was quietly “relieved of duty” by the morning of Jan. 30.

“The [five] Black officers were fired, charged with murder, and had their faces plastered everywhere, three days after the murder. ” Olurin’s tweet read. “The white officer wasn’t mentioned and was quietly “relieved of duty”  yesterday.  America,” he said.

Memphis police released body camera footage of the Jan. 7 traffic stop. 

Hemphill’s attorney, Lee Gerald, said Hemphill was the third officer at the traffic stop. Gerald argued that Hemphill was not present at the second scene where Nichols was beaten to death by the other five officers —Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith. 

All were charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression, except for Hemphill, who was only  “relieved of duty” at the time of press.

Memphis Police Officers Indicted For Assault And Murder Of Tyre Nichols + Video Footage To Be Released

Five Memphis police officers charged with assaulting and killing Tyre Nichols have been arrested. The officers have since been terminated, and footage of the assault is expected to be released on Jan. 27.

All Cops Hit With Charges

The five police officers charged with the assault of Memphis native Tyre Nichols were fired on Jan. 20 and booked into Shelby County Jail on Jan. 26. The disgraced officers bonded on Jan. 27.

The charges for each officer include official misconduct, official oppression, second-degree murder, aggravated assault, and aggravated kidnapping.  

A Memphis Tragedy

Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man from Memphis, was assaulted on Jan. 7 during a traffic stop in his neighborhood. Nichols passed away from his injuries on Jan. 10.

In a Thursday press conference, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said the video footage of the assault is to be released around 6 p.m. on Jan. 27. In a video, Nichols’ mother asked attendees at her son’s vigil not to riot when the video is released.

One user on Twitter says the video. “must be bad” if riots are being planned after the footage is released.

A narrative floating around Twitter says since all cops were Black, it is not racist. However, it is still police brutality. In the past, Atlanta rapper T.I. has said police brutality is a problem overall, not just racial

One mother who also spoke out about her son being murdered was Michelle Kenney, whose son Antwon Rose, Jr., was fatally shot by police in 2016.

Justice For Tyre

An investigation was commenced by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for the use of force by police officers.

Cases such as Nichols’s murder have happened in the past where Black people were assaulted or killed. Texas woman Atatiana Jefferson was shot fatally in her home in 2019, and the police officer who shot her was found guilty of manslaughter. 

Rap legend Jay-Z has been a notable advocate of prison and police reform. With his company, Roc Nation, Jay-Z has started a social justice coalition and has worked with departments across the country to fire and arrest corrupt police officers. 

Memphis rapper CMG boss Yo Gotti has also worked with Roc Nation, including speaking at summits to promote prison and police reform.

Originally Written By: Chris Samuel

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Written by Michael Omoruan

Mike hails from the Bronx and is a Film & TV Studies graduate from Lehman College. His interests include pop culture and community engagement and can often be found listening to the latest by Megan Thee Stallion, Amine, J-Cole, and Kendrick Lamar.

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