© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of a picture of Tyre Nichols during a news conference held by the family members of Nichols, the Black man who was beaten by Memphis police officers during a traffic stop and died three days later, at Mason Temple: Church of God in Chri
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A federal grand jury has indicted five former Memphis police officers in the killing of Tyre Nichols, a Black man who died after being beaten by police in January, according to a court document filed on Tuesday.
Police video captured images of the officers beating and kicking Nichols, hitting him with a baton, spraying him with pepper spray and firing a stun gun at him on Jan. 7 following a traffic stop. The case renewed a long-running national discussion of race relations and police brutality.
The five former officers – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith – pleaded not guilty in February to second-degree murder and other charges brought by a local prosecutor. The five officers, all of whom are Black, were fired from the department.
According to Tuesday’s indictment, they have been charged with four federal counts including “Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law: Excessive Force and Failure to Intervene.” Other counts include conspiracy to witness tamper and obstruction of justice.
The indictment says the five former officers provided “false and misleading information” and “intentionally omitted material information” in their communications with the Memphis Police Department in the reports about Nichols’ arrest, the filing added.
In July, the Justice Department opened an investigation into whether the Memphis Police Department has an unconstitutional “pattern or practice” of using excessive force and racial discrimination.
The Justice Department said it had received multiple reports of Memphis officers using excessive force and reports they may use force against people who are already restrained or in police custody.