Five former police officers are in custody and each facing a murder charge in connection with the death of Tyre Nichols, a Black motorist in Memphis, Tennessee, who died three days after a 7 January traffic stop spiraled into a fatal physical attack by the men, local media reported.
Shelby county sheriff's office online records show that Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr, Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith were in custody. All five are charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
Nichols, 29, endured a three-minute brutal beating following this traffic stop. An attorney representing Nichols's family reportedly said an independent autopsy revealed that he "suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating".
"He was a human piñata for those police officers," the family attorney, Antonio Romanucci, told reporters. "Not only was it violent, it was savage."
Memphis police officials initially said there was a "confrontation" when officers came toward Nichols's vehicle and then another "confrontation" after they arrested him.
The five officers accused of involvement in this deadly encounter, who are Black, were fired last week. Memphis police officials said these officers flouted "multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid".
Meanwhile, other officers are being investigated for possible policy violations. Two Memphis fire department members who worked on Nichols's initial care have been "relieved of duty" pending an internal investigation that is ongoing, officials said.
State and federal authorities are investigating the fatal encounter.