Memphis officers charged in Nichols death face review of older cases By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view shows a memorial for Tyre Nichols at the intersection of Castlegate Lane and Bear Creek Cove in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S., January 30, 2023. This memorial marks the area where Tyre Nichols was beaten during a traffic stop by Memphis poli

By Brendan O’Brien

(Reuters) -The chief prosecutor for Shelby County, Tennessee, will examine the case files of the five former Memphis police officers who have been charged in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, CNN reported on Friday, citing a statement from his office.

Shelby County District Attorney Steven Mulroy said in the statement that his office will review “all prior cases — closed and pending” of the five dismissed officers who face second-degree murder, assault and kidnapping charges in the death of Nichols, a Black, 29-year-old father who was severely beaten by police after a traffic stop on Jan. 7.

“This is just the beginning,” Mulroy’s spokesperson Erica Williams told CNN. “This involves any criminal case that [the officers] were involved in. It is any case where there were criminal charges that were brought by the DA anytime since they became officers.”

The district attorney’s office declined to elaborate on Mulroy or Williams’ remarks, except to reiterate that the investigation was continuing and additional charges in the case were possible.

Videos released by the city two weeks ago showed Nichols crying out for his mother as the five officers, who are also Black, pummeled him with kicks, punches and baton blows and doused him with pepper spray. The footage ends with Nichols’ seen being left handcuffed, bloodied and slumped against the side of a police vehicle for about a quarter-hour before receiving medical attention.

Nichols died in a hospital three days later. The footage led to a national outcry and protests in several major U.S. cities.

Civil rights advocates and lawyers for Nichols’ family have condemned the beating as the latest case of an African American brutalized by a racially biased law enforcement system that disproportionately targets people of color, even when officers involved are non-white.

On Friday, the family publicly urged the United Nations to condemn Nichols’ killing while calling for police transparency and demanding criminal charges against other officers involved in the incident, lawyers for the family said in a statement.

The statement, released by the office of civil rights attorney Ben Crump, pleaded for “urgent action regarding the torture and extrajudicial killing of Tyre Nichols, a person of African descent in Memphis, Tennessee.”

A similar appeal was directed to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva more than two years ago by the brother of the late George Floyd, the Black man whose death under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer in May 2020 roused worldwide protests against racial injustice.

The appeal by Floyd’s brother helped inspire the 47-nation forum to unanimously adopt a resolution offered by African countries condemning discriminatory and violent policing around the world.

It also led to a report from the U.N. human rights chief a year later calling for an end to structural racism, and for reparations programs and prosecution of law enforcement officials for unlawfully killing people of African descent.

The five Memphis officers charged with murdering Nichols were members of SCORPION, a now-disbanded specialized police unit that was formed in October 2021 to concentrate on crime hot spots. Critics say such specialized teams can be prone to abusive tactics.

A sixth officer has been dismissed from the police department while seven other officers were expected to face formal disciplinary charges for their involvement in the Nichols incident.

Several of the officers who have been fired had received written reprimands or short suspensions for violating department policies, according to their personnel files.

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