MEMPHIS, Tenn. — All five former Memphis police officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols will appear in court on Friday. One of their attorneys told WREG what can be expected.
Attorney William Massey is representing Emmitt Martin, one of the men facing second-degree murder charges.
“There’s a lot we don’t know,” Massey told WREG’s, April Thompson. “There’s a lot that we don’t see, and we want to be able to present a complete picture of this stop, particularly the initial stop.”
This is why Massey has filed motions to preserve evidence in the case. He wants to make sure things like documents, photos, notes, and witness statements aren’t destroyed– particularly video — that he says could be crucial.
“We have not received anything other than the videos that were released to the public,” the attorney said.
For the first time, Massey, through his court order, is hinting at where this case may go. He says his client was one of the first to see Nichols.
“Mr. Martin was working his shift the night of January 7,” Massey explained. “He was at Quince and Riverdale when Nichols’s’ car went by. He was going a little fast– not that fast to concern him, but the car did some movement between lanes, and then [Martin] hit his lights. Nichols did not stop, so [Martin] called his SCORPION Unit for help.”
Massey says that’s when other officers surrounded Nichols’s car. “Both police cars had their lights on. They were unmarked cars, but they had their blue lights on. Still, Mr. Nichols did not stop.”
Massey says this will be proven by video from five cameras on the nearly one-mile stretch that Nichols traveled with police behind him.
“They were telling him to get his hands up. They had a person that had run and wouldn’t stop. They didn’t know what was in the car. So they’re telling him, ‘Get your hands up, put your hands up,'” said Massey.
He says no one has seen this video, but it will show why officers pulled him out of the car at Ross Roads. “It’s my information that he made movements toward his backpack, and it may have been [non-harmful] movements– I don’t know. But I do know that appears to be, from the video, the point that the detective reaches in and takes hold of him and pulls him out.”
Massey says he believes the public has not been given all the information regarding the case.
“I think the public was left with the opinion that there was no probable cause to stop Tyre Nichols. I think that these units, backup units, as well as the body cams, will confirm Mr. Martin’s position that there was probable cause,” he said.
Many people say that what was caught on camera after the stop can’t be denied.
“A lot of it can’t,” said Massey. “It’s gonna be a difficult case. No doubt about it. I’m aware of the effect that the video has, but we don’t have all of it yet.”
At the arraignment hearing Friday, Massey says they will officially enter a plea and a motion to have prosecutors turn over evidence in a case where plenty has already played out.
Even with the national publicity of this case, attorney Massey says if they go to trial, he doesn’t think a change of venue will be needed. He believes once all the evidence is presented, a jury will be able to hear the facts and follow the law.