Five former Memphis police officers are facing second-degree murder charges in the death of Tyre Nichols. The charges were announced on Tuesday, with the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office saying the officers used excessive force when arresting Nichols.
The incident occurred on Dec. 10, 2020, when the officers responded to a 911 call about a man with a gun. The officers encountered Nichols and a struggle ensued. Nichols was eventually taken into custody and transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The incident has sparked outrage in the Memphis community and beyond, with many questioning why the officers were not charged with first-degree murder. The family of Tyre Nichols has also questioned why the officers were not held accountable for their actions.
The family has since organized a candlelight vigil at Memphis Skatepark in honor of Tyre. The family’s attorney has also spoken out, saying that the incident was “an MMA fight except only one side is MMA.”
In a statement, District Attorney Amy Weirich said that the charges were the result of an “extensive investigation” and that the officers’ actions were “wrong and criminal.”
The five former officers are scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday. If convicted, they could face up to 40 years in prison.