US Policeman Pleads Guilty In Beating To Death Of Black Man

The Justice Department announced Thursday that one of the five US police officers charged in the beating death of a young African-American man in the southern city of Memphis pled guilty.

Bodycam video from the January incident showed the police, all of whom were Black, repeatedly kicking and striking Tyre Nichols, 29, during a traffic check near his Memphis home. Nichols died three days later in the hospital.

Desmond Mills’ guilty plea is part of a settlement of pending state and federal charges, and it represents a U-turn considering that he and the other four officers pleaded not guilty in court in Tennessee in February.

The five cops were already facing criminal charges from the state of Tennessee when a federal grand jury in Memphis indicted them in September.

According to a Justice Department statement, Mills, 33, pled guilty Thursday to two of the four counts in the indictment — excessive force and failing to intervene, as well as an attempted coverup.

According to a statement from the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, the plea was “part of a global settlement of all pending state and federal charges and comes after Mills pled guilty this morning to these federal charges.”

The other four officers have pleaded not guilty to federal charges.

Mills’ plea confirmed that he was not “an individual actor” in the crime, according to lawyers for Nichols’ family, who are suing the city of Memphis in civil court for his murder.

“These officers, including Mills, acted at the direction of a policy that not only violated civil rights of innocent civilians but which caused needless pain to many,” they said in a statement.

According to the announcement, the other four police officers’ trials are slated for May 2024.

Nichols was pulled over for an alleged traffic violation and brutally attacked by officers in events captured on body camera and surveillance camera film that sparked anger when made public.

Vice President Kamala Harris attended Nichols’ funeral in February, and members of Nichols’ family were invited to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address a few days later in Washington.

 

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