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Memphis police officer guilty plea in Tyre Nichols’ death


Rev. Al Sharpton says ‘major step toward justice’

Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network (NAN), issued the following statement on the Memphis Police Officer who pleaded guilty late last week to federal charges over the killing of Tyre Nichols. Desmond Mills, Jr., admitted to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law after using excessive force and failing to intervene and one count of witness tampering, related to covering up the fatal police beating of Nichols in early January. 

Nichols’ death several days later sparked national outrage as several officers were subsequently charged. Rev. Sharpton delivered Nichols’ eulogy in Memphis, Tenn., during which Vice President Harris urged Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to prevent more law enforcement deaths like Nichols’. Since then, the Memphis PD’s infamous SCORPION squad has been disbanded as a Justice Department investigation continues. 

“Today marks another major step in the long road toward justice for Tyre and his family,” Sharpton said. “We must remember that our journey is far from over because this officer was not the lone culprit in this heinous killing. Tyre was the victim of a police department culture that clearly celebrated brutality, where officers were hammers and every civilian looked like a nail. That’s why it was so important the SCORPION squad was disbanded, and the Justice Department answered our call to turn over every stone when looking at their practices and procedures. 

“But as I noted in Tyre’s eulogy, these unnecessary killings will only continue so long as bad actors are covered by qualified immunity. Cops who want to break the public trust will only think twice once they realize their job, their pension or their house is on the line. We need Congress to do right by these victims and prevent future tragedy by finally passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.”