(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) — All five former Memphis police officers accused of murder in connection to the traffic stop beating of Tyre Nichols entered not guilty pleas on Friday morning.
Nichols’ parents and their attorney, Ben Crump, were in the courtroom.
The former officers are set to return to court on May 1. None of the officers spoke in the brief court appearance Friday.
The five officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith — were fired and arrested on charges including second-degree murder following Nichols’ beating during a Jan. 7 traffic stop.
Nichols, 29, was hospitalized and died three days later.
Graphic footage of the traffic stop was released to the public last month and sparked nationwide outrage.
A sixth officer was fired and a seventh has been relieved of duty in the wake of Nichols’ death. More officers could receive administrative discipline and the district attorney said additional charges could be filed.
At Nichols’ funeral, family attorney Ben Crump said that Nichols’ legacy “will be one of equal justice.”
“It will be the blueprint going forward, because we have to remember that in less than 20 days … they were terminated, they were arrested and they were charged,” he said of the officers.
Nichols’ family is now urging Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would mandate accountability for police misconduct, address racial profiling and limit use of force for police officers.
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