Memphis, TN – It could be a long time before the case against five ex-cops moves to trial after the death of Tyre Nichols. The 29-year-old died three days after video shows police officers in Memphis, Tennessee punch, kick, tase, and pepper spray him during a traffic stop on Jan. 7.
Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told Fox News a typical case could take months of discovery and possible pre-trial motions before a trial begins. Because of the number of defendants involved and the “sheer amount of evidence and discovery,” he said, “I’d expect it to be even longer than that before we get to trial.”
Desmond Mills, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin and Tadarrius Bean – who were part of the now-disbanded Scorpion Unit – were fired and are now facing second-degree murder charges and more.
Mulroy said his office is also looking at people were who were less directly involved, saying, “there’s absolutely no intent to protect anybody.”
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He confirmed they are looking at the latest Memphis police officer to be relieved of duty, Preston Hemphill. Mulroy said they are also looking at “the fire department people who showed up at the scene after the beating, even people who filled out paperwork afterwards. We’re looking at everything.”
That includes a pole camera operator. One of the videos released, that perhaps gives the public the most comprehensive look at what happened, comes from a pole camera. The DA said there is “a real time crime center that is manned the Memphis Police Department with live officers in real time.” Without giving specifics, he mentioned again that everyone involved is being looked at.
But Mulroy said patience is key. He explained that these investigations take time and that “if the investigation were to expand to people who were less directly involved, let’s say, that is necessarily going to take a long time.”
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Community and social media chatter that officials were trying to protect the identity of the sixth officer was quickly shot down. Hemphill, a white officer, was suspended from MPD the day after the incident. His suspension only came to light on Monday.
But Mulroy said his office only names people when charges are filed and when asked about a cover-up, he insists, “nothing could be further from the truth.”
A seventh Memphis officer has also been relieved of duty, but the police department has not released that officer’s identity.
The Memphis Fire Department terminated three EMTs, two of whom are Black and one of whom is White, after an investigation into Nichols’ death determined they “failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment on the victim,” Fire Chief Gina Sweat said.
SIXTH MEMPHIS POLICE OFFICER INVOLVED IN TYRE NICHOLS INVESTIGATION RELIEVED OF DUTY
As for the swift action in filing charges against the five ex-cops, Mulroy said the video involved and possible violent public reaction did play a role.
“I thought it was important that if at all possible, if we could decide on charges at least with respect to the people that were most directly responsible and announced those before the release of the video, that it might help prevent violent response on the part of the public,” he explained.
Haley, Martin III, Mills Jr., Smith, and Bean are scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 17. Mulroy said they are expected to enter pleas and have representation if they don’t already.
Source: Fox News