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Officer charged in connection with Tyre Nichols' death pleads guilty

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend that Desmond Mills Jr. be sentenced to no more than 15 years in prison.
Still image from bodycam video shows Tyre Nichols during an attack by five Memphis police officers.
Posted at 2:04 PM, Nov 02, 2023

Desmond Mills Jr., a former Memphis police officer, pleaded guilty to federal charges Thursday in connection to the death of Tyre Nichols. 

Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, died after being beaten by officers following a traffic stop in January.

Mills pleaded guilty to one count of using excessive force and failing to intervene in the unlawful assault, and a conspiracy charge that states the former officer "omitted material information and by providing false and misleading information to his supervisor and to others."

"Mills admitted to repeatedly and unjustifiably striking Nichols with a baton and to failing to intervene in other officers’ use of force against Nichols," the Department of Justice said in a press release. 

Tyre Nichols' family files lawsuit against Memphis police
The screen at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans honors Tyre Nichols.

Tyre Nichols' family files lawsuit against Memphis police

Nichols died in January after being beaten by Memphis police officers. His family is suing the city and officers.


The DOJ added that Mills submitted a police report that included his false claim of Nichols "aggressively resisting" officers.

"Instead of admitting that he had seen an officer repeatedly punch Nichols in the head while Nichols was restrained by two other officers, Mills reported only that 'Nichols was eventually put into custody,' the DOJ said. 

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend a prison sentence of no more than 15 years.

Mills was indicted alongside four other officers, all of whom were fired. They are scheduled to go on trial in May 2024. 

The five officers, including Mills, have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges in state court.