Former Memphis officer Desmond Mills Jr. released on bond
From CNN’s Andy Rose
One of the five former Memphis Police officers who was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tyre Nichols was released from jail Thursday night, according to Shelby County Jail records.
Desmond Mills Jr. posted $250,000 bond.
The other four former officers who were charged had not yet posted bond Thursday evening, records showed.
7:59 p.m. ET, January 26, 2023
District attorney: Video of altercation between Nichols and police does not show full encounter
Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said video shows police officers were already "highly charged up" from the initial interaction with Tyre Nichols and it escalated from there, adding the footage does not show the beginning of the encounter with him.
Mulroy told CNN's Erin Burnett he is very confident "we can secure a conviction. We have a very strong case and we’re ready for the process to go forward."
"I should just clarify that the video we have doesn't start from the very beginning of the altercation. It kind of cuts in as the first encounter is in progress, and so that's what I mean when I say they were already highly charged. I think when everyone watches the video tomorrow night when it's released, I think everyone will see what we mean."
The city of Memphis plans to release video of Nichols' arrest sometime after 6 p.m. local time (7 p.m. ET) Friday, according to the district attorney.
6:49 p.m. ET, January 26, 2023
Tennessee governor vows abuse of power won't be tolerated in light of Tyre Nichols' death
From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee offered his sympathies to the family of Tyre Nichols and vowed that “cruel, criminal abuse of power will not be tolerated in the state.”
"These individuals do not represent the honorable men & women of law enforcement, & they must be brought to justice for this tragic loss of life," the governor said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“The City of Memphis & the Memphis Police Department need to take a hard look at the misconduct & failure that has occurred within this unit. I discussed this with Mayor Strickland & am pleased the city is pursuing an external, impartial investigation," it added.
6:38 p.m. ET, January 26, 2023
"I am sad and angry for the family of Tyre Nichols." Memphis mayor praises swift action to bring charges
Ahead of the city's plan to release video of Tyre Nichols' arrest, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said officials wanted to be sure Nichols' family had a chance to privately view the footage.
“I am sad and angry for the family of Tyre Nichols. I am also angry for the many good men and women of the Memphis Police Department who devote their lives to serving our citizens," he said in a video statement posted on Facebook on Thursday.
Video of the fatal police encounter, a mix of body-camera video and pole-cam video, is expected to be released Friday evening, he said, echoing an announcement from the Shelby County district attorney earlier Thursday.
Strickland thanked Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis for moving quickly with the “administrative procedure” resulting in the firing of the five officers involved in the traffic stop. He also thanked Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy for bringing forward the indictments.
The five former officers have each been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two charges of aggravated kidnapping, two charges of official misconduct and one charge of official oppression.
“The actions of these officers were awful and no one, including law enforcement, is above the law," Strickland said.
The mayor said officials are “doing everything we can to prevent this from happening again," including initiating an outside, independent review of policies and training of specialized units within the Memphis Police Department.
Some context: Attorneys for two of the former officers, Desmond Mills Jr. and Emmitt Martin, confirmed that their clients were members of the Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods, or SCORPION unit. It is a specialized team focused on curbing violent crime, according to MPD.
Earlier Thursday, District Attorney Steve Mulroy said the unit was "involved" in Nichols' arrest.
Watch the video:
5:27 p.m. ET, January 26, 2023
City council members say Memphis is prepared for peaceful protests and "any potential of rioting"
From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch
Memphis City Council Chairman Martavius Jones told CNN that he hopes the charges announced against five former officers from the arrest of Tyre Nichols will help address the concerns of community members ahead of the expected release of video from the encounter.
“Our next step is going to see what the video actually looks like, and we hope that since we’ve delivered this accountability, that the community will accept that steps are being taken to bring justice to those individuals responsible for this act,” Jones told CNN’s Victor Blackwell during CNN Newsroom.
City Council Vice Chair JB Smiley Jr. said the city will continue to work with community leaders and organizers ahead of the video release, in hopes of quelling any potentially dangerous protests.
“I think what you will see in Memphis, you will see protests, but it will be peaceful because the Memphis Police Department, the sheriff’s department, the district attorney and the Memphis City Council, along with the city administration, has took all the necessary steps to quell any potential of rioting in our city,” Smiley said.
The city of Memphis plans to release video of Nichols' arrest sometime after 6 p.m. local time (7 p.m. ET) Friday, according to the county district attorney.
5:23 p.m. ET, January 26, 2023
"No one out there that night intended for Tyre Nichols to die." Attorneys for 2 ex-officers discuss charges
Lawyers for two former Memphis police officers being charged with murder in the death of Tyre Nichols said they are waiting to see how the justice system plays out, emphasizing that both of their clients are upset about the situation.
Blake Ballin, attorney for Desmond Mills Jr., and William Massey, attorney for Emmitt Martin, said they have not seen the video of Nichols' arrest. It is expected to be released Friday evening, according to the Shelby County district attorney.
“Justice means following the law and the law says that no one is guilty until a jury says they’re guilty," Massey said. He said his client intends to post a bond of $350,000 and also will plead not guilty.
Mills Jr. and Martin, along with three other former MPD officers, were indicted on charges including murder and kidnapping, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy announced Thursday.
“No one out there that night intended for Tyre Nichols to die," Massey added.
Ballin said his client, Mills Jr., "could not be more upset about this entire situation."
He said Mills Jr. is in the process of posting a $250,000 bond to secure his release and plans to enter a not-guilty plea in court.
Though he said he has not had a conversation specifically about Nichols yet with Mills Jr., "to be accused of being involved in the death of another is devastating."
While this is just the beginning of the process, Ballin said, the announcement of charges is causing Mills Jr. and his family a lot of “anxiety and a lot of pain, not only for his own situation but for what this kind of accusation, what this kind of incident, is doing to our city.”
The attorneys said initial court appearance dates had not yet been set.
CNN’s Andy Rose contributed reporting to this post.
5:26 p.m. ET, January 26, 2023
CNN legal analyst explains why charges of second-degree murder were brought against former officers
A grand jury on Thursday returned indictments against Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley and Desmond Mills.
Each former officer is charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two charges of aggravated kidnapping, two charges of official misconduct and one charge of official oppression for their alleged roles in the death of Tyre Nichols.
According to attorney and CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson, the charges are “very significant and very important and can land all of these officers in jail, essentially if it’s 15 to 60 years, for the rest of their natural lives.”
He said that there are "two distinctions" when comparing charges for first-degree versus second-degree murder:
"The first distinction, is the distinction in terms of the level of intent," Jackson told CNN. "If you charge first degree murder, the prosecutor then has to demonstrate you acted with premeditation. Second degree murder, on the other hand, you simply have to demonstrate that it was a knowing killing, as you heard the prosecutor say. What does that mean? You have to appreciate and know that the nature of your conduct could cause a death."
Under Tennessee sentencing guidelines, a conviction for first-degree murder could warrant life in prison or life without parole, Jackson said. For second-degree murder, the ex-officers could face 15 to 60 years if convicted, he said.
Jackson said the video of Nichols' fatal traffic stop arrest will be "significant" to the case, which Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said will be released by the city of Memphis after 6 p.m. local time on Friday.
"We'll find out whether the stop itself was legitimate," he said. "But even if the stop is legitimate, there comes a point, based upon your conduct, where you can exceed that legitimacy by detaining someone unlawfully against their will."
4:07 p.m. ET, January 26, 2023
NAACP calls for congressional action following murder charges for ex-officers
From CNN’s Andy Rose
The NAACP said Thursday that the decision of a grand jury to indict five former Memphis police officers for the murder of Tyre Nichols should spur national action to curb police brutality.
“It is only right that the Memphis Police Department takes the necessary additional steps to hold these officers accountable for their role in ripping apart a family and traumatizing a community,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement. “However, this is far from what justice looks like. Justice looks like the 535 members of Congress taking the time to turn their ‘thoughts and prayers’ into action and change."
Johnson’s statement did not specify what law the association wants to be passed but said Congress’ record in the wake of killings at the hands of police is notable.
“We can name all the victims of police violence, but we can't name a single law you have passed to address it,” Johnson added.
Separately, Memphis NAACP branch president Van Turner told CNN's Don Lemon that he thinks authorities have been transparent.
"There's no coverup. There's no suspension with pay. There's no 'We'll get to it when we want to.' There's been transparency. There's been swift action," Turner said.
He also encouraged members of the community who are planning to protest to do so in a peaceful way.
"I don't expect there to be, you know, violence because there's been transparency. The officers have been terminated, they've been charged. We know that the video will be bad. We know that there will be protests, but having citizens come out over the weekend to share that frustration with what has occurred may not be a bad idea," he said.
CNN’s Sabrina Clay contributed to this report.
5:25 p.m. ET, January 26, 2023
Biden: The family of Tyre Nichols "deserves a swift, full, and transparent investigation"
From CNN's Sam Fossum and MJ Lee
President Joe Biden released a statement Thursday and that the family of Tyre Nichols "deserves a swift, full, and transparent investigation into his death."
"Public trust is the foundation of public safety and there are still too many places in America today where the bonds of trust are frayed or broken. Tyre’s death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all," Biden said in the statement released following the news of charges filed against five former Memphis police officers in Nichols death after a traffic stop earlier this month
He added: "To deliver real change, we must have accountability when law enforcement officers violate their oaths, and we need to build lasting trust between law enforcement, the vast majority of whom wear the badge honorably, and the communities they are sworn to serve and protect."
Biden was briefed earlier Thursdays on the charges, according to a White House official.