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5 US police officers plead “not guilty” to fatal beating of black man



5 US police officers plead 'not guilty' to fatal beating of black man

All officers were fired by the Memphis Police Department.


Lawyers for the five officers said they pleaded “not guilty” Friday to charges that they killed Tyr Nichols, a young black man who died after being beaten by police in Memphis, Tennessee, last month.

Video of the incident shows five officers, who are all black, repeatedly kicking and punching Nichols at a traffic stop near his home on January 7, three days before he died in hospital.

Lawyers representing the five, all of whom were fired by the Memphis Police Department, appeared in brief preliminary hearings for an explosive trial that drew national attention to issues of police mistreatment and abuse of African Americans .

Judge James Jones acknowledged those sensitivities as he warned the defendants and Nichols’ family present in the courtroom that the trial could be long and involve “high emotions” and called for “decency” for all involved. requested.

“Everyone involved wants this case to conclude as quickly as possible. But it is important for all of you to understand that each of these defendants, along with the State of Tennessee, has an absolute right to a fair trial.”

“And I will not allow any behavior that could jeopardize that right,” he said.

Stating that there was a large amount of evidence to be collected, Jones set the next court date for 1 May.

According to police, 29-year-old Nichols was stopped for an alleged traffic violation on Jan. 7 by members of a special police anti-crime squad called the Scorpion Unit in Memphis.

It is not known why the officers stopped him.

Nicholls was brutally beaten by police in scenes recorded on body cameras and security camera footage that sparked a national outcry when they were made public late last month.

In addition to five officers being charged with second degree murder, a sixth has been fired and other officers, including three firefighters, have been suspended.

Nichols was buried on February 1 in a ceremony attended by Vice President Kamala Harris, who said his beating was not “in pursuit of public safety.”

“This is a family that lost their son and their brother through violence at the hands and feet of the very people they were charged with keeping safe,” she told the gathering at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church.

The next day, in a meeting with black lawmakers, President Joe Biden cited Nichols’ death to urge Congress to enact stalled police reforms.

“My hope is that this dark memory inspires some of the action we’ve all been fighting for,” Biden said.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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