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Tyre Nichols Update: Federal Trial Delayed for Ex-Cops Charged in Black Man’s Death

The federal trial for four ex-Memphis police officers charged for beating Tyre Nichols has been postponed four months, according to AP News. After defense lawyers requested extra time to prepare, U.S. District Judge Mark Norris moved the former cops’ trial from May 6 to Sept. 9 last week. To evaluate over 800 gigabytes of video, documents, and other case evidence, lawyers required extra time.

“This case has a number of moving parts,” Emmitt Martin’s lawyer, Stephen Ross Johnson, told the court. “We need more time.”

Additional video of Tyre Nichols’ fatal police beating over a year ago has delayed the trial. The Memphis Commercial Appeal investigated dozens of police body camera videos and found five former cops accused with Nichols’ gruesome murder after a traffic encounter.

Nichols’ family attorneys stated they have the footage. “My legal team expects the new body cam videos of Tyre Nichols’ horrible death at the hands of Memphis Police to confirm what we have argued from the start: that the officers’ cruel and callous conduct were unjustified,” attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci emailed NewsOne. “We will continue to investigate this tragedy and help Tyre’s family in their grief and search for justice.

On January 10, 2024, one year after Memphis Police killed Tyre Nichols, the DOJ produced Considerations for Specialized Units: A Guide for State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies to Ensure Appropriateness, Effectiveness, and Accountability

After Tyre Nichols’ death, DOJ commissioned the handbook to help law enforcement agencies and communities across examine specialized units and ensure their administration and control for effective and just policing.

DOJ guidelines covers specialized unit development, staff selection and supervision, management and accountability, and community engagement.

“After Tyre Nichols’ tragic death and public scrutiny of the SCORPION unit, we made it a priority at the Justice Department to develop a practical resource for law enforcement and community leaders assessing police agencies’ use of specialized units,” said Associate Attorney General Gupta.

“Our family and Tyre Nichols’ family appreciate the Department of Justice’s and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta’s efforts in this situation.,” attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci informed NewsOne.

In September, U.S. District Judge Mark S. Norris delayed Bean, Mills, Haley, Martin, and Smith’s trial until May 2024 from March 2024, according to Commercial Appeal.

Two former police officers charged with murder tried to separate themselves from the brutality case defendants in June. Bean and Smith’s lawyers want separate trials, the Memphis Commercial Appeal said.

In September, U.S. District Judge Mark S. Norris delayed Bean, Mills, Haley, Martin, and Smith’s trial until May 2024 from March 2024, according to Commercial Appeal.

The ex-cops were charged by the federal government on September 12 with four counts of willfully violating Nichols’ constitutional rights, including his right not to be subjected to a police officer’s deliberate disregard for his serious medical needs, planning to hide the fact that they used unlawful force by leaving out important information, and giving their supervisor and others false and misleading information.

The five former officers face life sentences with no parole in the federal system.

Bean, Mills, and Smith’s lawyers argued that a joint trial would not be fair, but Shelby County Criminal Court Judge James Jones Jr. denied their request in October.

Since September, a $550 million federal lawsuit against the City of Memphis and some former police officers accused of police brutality against a different Black man was paused “until all the criminal cases are resolved,” the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.

However, before the five cops’ federal indictment, a defense attorney requested an extended pause for the federal complaint.

The ruling before the federal charge, and defense attorney John Keith Perry contended a stay in that case should extend to the Nichols civil case.

“They’re not the same case, but we think the implications in our case are heightened if the court would undermine the Harris case ruling,” Bean’s attorney, John Keith Perry, said. The court argues that this case is less troublesome than the Harris case, based on discovery.

In September, the five dismissed MPD officers charged with murdering Nichols were indicted on federal counts in addition to state charges for beating the unarmed Black motorist to death in January.

There are now four federal charges against Bean, Mills, Haley, Martin, and Smith. They are accused of denying Nichols his constitutional rights on purpose, violating his right not to be subjected to a police officer’s willful disregard for his serious medical needs, and working together to hide the fact that they used unlawful force by leaving out important details and giving their supervisor and others false and misleading information.

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Written by Aliyah Collins