The five former Memphis police officers involved in the beating of Tyre Nichols are now facing federal civil rights charges along with their previous second-degree murder charges, The Guardian reports. Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin and Justin Smith were indicted on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Memphis. The four-count indictment charges each of them with deprivation of rights under the color of law through excessive force and failure to intervene, and through deliberate indifference; and obstruction of justice through witness tampering. “Tyre Nichols should be alive today,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. He said the five officers not only violated Nichols’ civil rights, but they “conspired to cover up their crimes, including by falsely stating that Mr Nichols had actively resisted arrest”.
The Justice Department also alleges that the officers lied to emergency responders about striking him repeatedly. DOJ announced an investigation in July into how Memphis police department officers use force and conduct arrests, one of several “pattern and practices” investigations it has undertaken in other cities. In March, the justice department said it was conducting a separate review concerning use of force, de-escalation strategies and specialized units in the Memphis police department. Nichols’ mother has sued the city and its police chief over her son’s death. The indictment alleges that the officers used their body cameras to limit what evidence could be captured at the scene.