Five former Memphis police officers were arrested and charged with second-degree murder Thursday in connection to the death of a Black man Trye Nichols, who was stopped by the police on Jan. 7. The officers, who are all Black, face multiple charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression. Prior to being arrested Thursday, the officers were fired last week after an investigation found them "directly responsible for the physical abuse of Mr Nichols." According to an initial autopsy report, Nicholas was severely beaten and died as a result of his injuries.
Identified a Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, and Justin Smith, the five officers are in custody, jail records show. But that’s not all, following the officers’ arrest another man spoke up against one of the five, noting that the officer took part in beating him as an inmate nearly eight years ago, NBC News reported.
According to a 2016 lawsuit, Cordarlrius Sledge was serving a three-year sentence for aggravated assault in 2015 when two corrections officers, including Haley, beat him for having a contraband cellphone.
In an interview with NBC News, Sledge noted that while his lawsuit was dismissed before its merits were evaluated he listed Haley as one of two officers who assaulted him under the supervision of a third, who came into his cellblock on May 16, 2015.
“When they came in to do one of their little random pop-in search, they called me and two other guys to the shower area to be strip-searched,” Sledge said. “They requested for me to be searched first.”
He added that while he did not assault the officers he ran in an attempt to get rid of his cellphone.
“That’s when they started punching on me,” he said. “They picked me up and slammed my head into the sink, and I blacked out.”
According to Sledge, the officers took him to the prison’s medical infirmary the next day during which he noticed significant bleeding. The suit was filed without a lawyer. Sledge noted that because he was in federal custody he did not have the time or ability to complete the necessary paperwork.
“I just hope that those officers get what they deserve and set an example for the rest of officers,” he said speaking about Nichols. Prior to being contacted by NBC News in regard to the Nichols case, Sledge did not know the officer had assaulted yet another person.
The revelation that this isn’t Haley’s first assault comes hours before officials plan to release the body camera footage of how Nichols was treated during his traffic stop. According to CNN, the footage is expected to be revealed at 6 PM EST.
“You’re going to see a disregard for life, duty of care that we’re all sworn to and a level of physical interaction that is above and beyond what is required in law enforcement,” Chief Cerelyn Davis said, noting it will be released on YouTube in four parts.
“Individuals watching will feel what the family felt,” Davis said. “And if you don’t, then you’re not a human being. … There will be a measure of sadness, as well.”
Nichols’ family had access to the video footage on Monday.
While the officers involved have been arrested, the case is still under investigation and is being reviewed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Justice Department.
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