The five now-former cops charged in connection with the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols pleaded not guilty on Friday.
Per a report from the Associated Press, the five former officers appeared alongside their legal representatives in Shelby County Criminal Court on Friday. All five charged officers—Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, and Justin Smith—entered not guilty pleas on counts including second-degree murder and aggravated assault.
Following the arraignment on Friday, civil rights attorney Ben Crump was joined by fellow attorney Antonio Romanucci, as well as Nichols’ mother and father, for a short press conference.
“It’s important to note that this was very emotional and there were a lot of things that were not said in the courtroom today in the proceedings, but it was a very informative day as we move closer to justice,” Crump said.
The office of Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy has released multiple statements throughout the investigation into Nichols’ violent arrest and subsequent death, including several addressing the public release of graphic footage of the beating. Late last month, Mulroy’s office noted that the larger investigation remained “ongoing” following the announcement of charges against the five aforementioned officers.
“The DA’s office worked extraordinarily swiftly but thoroughly to charge those whose offenses were plain and clear and directly contributed to the death of Mr. Nichols, but in no way is this investigation over,” the office said at the time.
Last week, Nichols’ family was announced to have filed an urgent appeal with the United Nations “to demand transparency from the police department, and to demand that Officer Preston Hemphill and all officers that participated in the incident are criminally charged.”
A federal investigation into Nichols’ death has also been launched.