(Washington) Five police officers indicted for murder after the fatal beating of African-American Tire Nichols in Memphis in January are now facing federal charges, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
This affair, in which the White House was heavily involved, had raised fears of a social conflagration. Made public, videos of the arrest of Tire Nichols showed the five police officers, also black, beating the 29-year-old young man relentlessly.
“The country watched in horror as Mr. Nichols was kicked, punched, tasered and pepper sprayed,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a brief video address posted online Tuesday .
The department accuses the five officers, who were fired, of “deliberately depriving Tire Nichols of his constitutional rights,” actions that “led to his death,” he added.
A federal grand jury in Memphis, Tennessee, on Tuesday indicted the five men for violating the civil rights of Tire Nichols and conspiring to cover up their unlawful use of force, according to a department statement.
The officers – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III and Desmond Mills Jr – were previously charged in the state of Tennessee with murder, aggravated battery, aggravated kidnapping, professional misconduct and custodian abuse. of public authority.
They pleaded not guilty.
Tire Nichols was arrested on January 7. He died three days later in hospital.
The Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, attended his funeral, and the young man’s parents were invited to President Joe Biden’s major State of the Union speech in Washington.