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National News

Former officer to change plea to federal charges in Tyre Nichols’ death: Attorney

todayNovember 1, 2023

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Memphis Police Department

(MEMPHIS, Tenn.) — Desmond Mills Jr., one of the five former Memphis police officers charged in connection with the death of Tyre Nichols, plans to change his plea to federal offenses, his attorney confirmed to ABC News.

The attorney, Blake Ballin, said Mills will be entering a change of plea during a hearing on Thursday. Mills previously pleaded not guilty back in September to federal civil rights, conspiracy and obstruction offenses.

Nichols, 29, died on Jan. 10, three days after a violent confrontation with police following a traffic stop.

The federal indictment alleges that Mills — along with Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith and Emmitt Martin III — deprived Nichols of his constitutional rights during the confrontation.

Each of the defendants, according to the indictment, were involved in beating Nichols during the Jan. 7 traffic stop and none relayed information about their assault to the Memphis police dispatcher, their supervisor or the EMTs and paramedics who were coming to the scene.

The officers allegedly spoke at the scene about how they had struck Nichols, “including hitting Nichols with straight haymakers and taking turns hitting him with so many pieces,” but they also did not relay that information to first responders or their supervisors even as his condition “deteriorated and he became unresponsive,” the indictment alleges.

The other four defendants pleaded not guilty to the federal charges.

All five former officers also face state felony charges, including second-degree murder, aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping, in connection with Nichols’ death. They pleaded not guilty.

The Memphis Police Department fired the five officers — who were on the department’s now-disbanded SCORPION unit — following an investigation into Nichols’ death.

Correction: This story has been updated to say Desmond Mills’ lawyer has announced his client will change his plea, but he has not said what the change of plea will be.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Written by: ABC News

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