Friday 3 November 2023

Former Memphis Police Officer Becomes First To Plead Guilty To Federal Charges In Tyre Nichols’ Death

 A former policeman with the Memphis Police Department who was one of the five officers charged in the beating death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols in January pled guilty to two federal charges Thursday.

Desmond Mills Jr., 33, reached a plea deal with federal and state prosecutors, pleading guilty to excessive force and obstruction of justice in exchange for prosecutors recommending a 15-year prison sentence, the Associated Press reported. Mills’ plea at the Memphis Federal Courthouse was part of an agreement that he would also plead guilty to similar charges at the state court. Mills now faces a sentencing hearing on May 22 in front of a judge.

“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,” Nichols’ mother RowVaughn Wells said, according to the AP. “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.”

Nichols was fatally injured during a confrontation with five Memphis police officers on January 7, 2023, after he was pulled over. During the initial traffic stop, Nichols was pepper-sprayed and tased. He then attempted to flee the Memphis police officers, but they caught up with him, and footage from a camera mounted on a nearby pole area showed officers kicking and beating him while he was on the ground.

The plea agreement details that Mills pepper-sprayed Nichols three different times and pulled out his baton while yelling at him, “I’m about to baton the (expletive) out of you,” before hitting him repeatedly while Nichols was on the ground. The plea agreement also says that Nichols was never given the opportunity to comply with the commands given to him.

Mills and the other officers discussed among themselves “taking turns hitting Nichols, hitting Nichols with straight haymakers, and everybody rocking Nichols. During these conversations, the officers discussed hitting Nichols to make him fall and observed that when Nichols did not fall from these blows, they believed they were ‘about to kill’ him,” according to the plea agreement.

The five officers accused of beating Nichols to death were fired from the Memphis Police Department later that month before facing federal and state charges. Mills, along with Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmit Martin III, and Justin Smith were all charged with using excessive force, failing to intervene, deliberate indifference and conspiring to lie, and obstruction of justice.


Previously, all five officers pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in a state court. Mills becomes the first officer to plead guilty to any of the charges.

Post a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search