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Trial on Civil-Rights Charges in Tyre Nichols Death Remains in Memphis

The federal trial of four former Memphis police officers charged with civil rights violations in the beating death of Tyre Nichols will be held in the city, a judge ruled Thursday. During a hearing in federal court, U.S. District Judge Mark S. Norris denied motions filed by defense attorneys to move the trial out of the city or bring in a jury from elsewhere in Tennessee, The Associated Press reports. The attorneys argued that intense news media coverage and the public release of video related to the beating would make it impossible to seat a fair and impartial jury in Memphis, where Nichols died in January 2023.


Martin, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith were fired after Nichols’ death. They were indicted in September on federal charges that they deprived Nichols of his rights through excessive force and failure to intervene, and obstructed justice through witness tampering. They also have been charged in state court with second-degree murder. The state trial has been delayed until the federal trial is complete. The federal trial is scheduled to start Sept. 9. The criminal case is separate from the U.S. Department of Justice’s “patterns and practices” investigation into how Memphis officers use force and conduct arrests, and whether the department in the majority-Black city engages in racially discriminatory policing. The Justice Department also has announced a separate review concerning use of force, de-escalation strategies and specialized units within Memphis police.

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