Friday, 10 February 2023

Ex-Cops Charged With Murdering Tyre Nichols Now Accused Of Beating Black Army Veteran

 A man identified as a black Army veteran is suing the five former Memphis, Tennessee, police officers charged with murdering Tyre Nichols.

Lawyers for Monterrious Harris, 22, filed a lawsuit in Tennessee federal court seeking $5 million in damages over the alleged violent encounter that took place three days before Nichols was beaten.

Harris claims he was in a car waiting on his cousin at an apartment complex in Memphis on January 4 when masked and armed members of the now-disbanded Scorpion Unit “suddenly swarmed” him without immediately identifying themselves and demanded he get out or “be shot.”

Thinking he was being robbed, Harris backed his car up until it hit some sort of object, and he then stepped out of the vehicle with his hands up, the lawsuit says. That’s when Harris alleges officers punched, stomped, and dragged him across the concrete until witnesses came outside in response to his shouts for help.

After receiving treatment at a hospital, Harris was held in jail for several days until his family could post bond, according to Fox News.

Harris claims in his lawsuit that he is facing “false” charges, including evading arrest. He was also slapped with various drug and weapons violations. Harris’ cousin left a licensed and registered gun in the car without Harris knowing, the lawsuit says.

“Mr. Harris had great difficulty walking because his left leg was gashed from the assault,” the lawsuit says. “But for witnesses coming outside to observe after hearing Mr. Harris’ loud screams, Mr. Harris would likely have suffered the same fate as Mr. Nichols.”

Defendants in the lawsuit include Demetrius Haley, Tadarrius Bean, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. — who are the same five black officers charged with second-degree murder in the fatal beating of Nichols, a black 29-year-old FedEx worker. These officers, who were fired from the Memphis police force, do not yet have attorneys listed, according to Insider.

The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office previously said it was looking into all individuals involved in the events leading up to, during, and after the beating of Nichols. Memphis police announced late last month that it permanently disbanded the specialized street crime Scorpion unit.

Harris’ mother called Spence Partners Law while Harris was in jail, and the firm’s lawyers were the ones who found out the officers mentioned in the police report for Harris were the same ones charged in Nichols’ death, according to an ABC 24 Memphis report.

“We filed a lawsuit because we believe we can prove that there’s a policy and custom in MPD in which they violate the rights of young Black men like Monterrious,” said Jarrett Spence of the law firm.

The City of Memphis and four John Does were also listed as defendants in Harris’ lawsuit.

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