United States: the police charged after the death of Tire Nichols plead not guilty

Former Memphis police officers charged with murder in the death of Tire Nichols appear with their attorneys during a arraignment hearing at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center, Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn. AP - Brandon Dill

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The police who beat African-American Tire Nichols to death last month in Memphis are in court.

The 5 African-American officers also pleaded not guilty.


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With our correspondent in Washington


Guillaume Naudin 

They are five and some are wearing surgical masks.

They are standing, but not saying a word.

It is their lawyers who speak and who decide, despite the overwhelming video footage, to plead not guilty to all counts.

Among those is second-degree murder, which in Tennessee can get anyone up to 60 years in prison.

One of the lawyers explains that his client was just doing his job that day and did not touch Tire Nichols, which the video contradicts.

The 29-year-old man had first fled a traffic check before being surrounded and then violently beaten by the police.

He died three days later in hospital.

See also United States: the video of the deadly beating of Tire Nichols made public

The mother of Tire Nichols was present at the hearing accompanied by Ben Crump, the lawyer specializing in police violence against African-Americans.

When she left, she explained that none of the police had looked at her, but that she was waiting for this moment.

The five men's next appearance in court is scheduled for May 1.

It will be a trial emblematic of police brutality and since the death of Tire Nichols, calls for police reform have been widely revived. 


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