MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A federal court judge has set a May trial date for the five former Memphis Police officers who have pleaded not guilty to federal civil rights charges in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols.
Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin, Desmond Mills, and Justin Smith were all back in federal court Thursday. May 6 is the trial date all the legal teams agreed on.
At this time, the trial is expected to take eight or nine days for all five officers.
The former MPD officers were indicted by a federal grand jury last Tuesday, charging them with depriving Tyre Nichols of his rights following a traffic stop that led to his death.
Cameras weren’t allowed inside the courtroom Thursday, but the judge said the goal was to move this case forward. All defendants were seated separately across the courtroom and didn’t speak.
They are all set to report back to federal court on November 12 and April 4 before the trial starts in May.
William Massey, who represents Emmitt Martin III, says with so many pending cases against the former officers, this is only the beginning.
“There is no doubt that this is a large case. There is a lot at stake in the community, as well as for those accused,” Massey said. “We’ve begun the process, that’s where we are. We’ll work towards May for a trial date.”
Massey says there are some similarities to the criminal cases involving the former officers.
“It’s going to be on the same scenario but the offenses are different,” Massey said.
Before court on Thursday, there were also motions filed for the defendants to be able to talk to each other, including about the case. All of those motions were shut down, but they will be allowed to be together in the building for their court hearings.
“I would like to see everyone be able to talk, but lawyers can talk so I guess that’s the way it’s going to have to be done,” Massey said.
The judge also made it clear the death penalty would not be an option in the case. The maximum sentence would be life. Massey told us that is a welcome decision.