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Former MPD Officers Charged in Tyre Nichols' Death Make Second Court Appearance

Christopher Blank

The five former Memphis Police officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols stood in court briefly Friday morning for a hearing with Shelby County Judge James Jones that was largely procedural.

They first appeared in front of Jones in February to plead not guilty to second degree murder charges and other felonies.

Shelby County prosecutors provided an update that they have already given defense attorneys a large volume – more than a terabyte’s worth – of evidence that could be used at trial. They agreed to gather and share more requested material by August 18, when all parties are due back in court.

In the meantime, Judge Jones plans to review documents and videos related to MPD’s internal administrative investigation of the former officers that the City of Memphis intended to publicly release months ago.

At the request of defense attorneys who said it could prejudice a jury, Jones agreed to block the dissemination of that materialso he could consider their objections with input from prosecutors.

“We’ve made our position clear at the last hearing that we favor transparency and for the judge to be able to release whatever he deems he can,” Assistant District Attorney Paul Hagerman told reporters. “There’s legal restrictions though and constitutional rights of the defendants to a fair trial and questions of privilege…the judge has to sort that stuff out before he makes a ruling.”

Media organizations have appealed for the release of the city’s records.

Two former officers have now asked that they be tried separately from their fellow defendants.

Blake Ballin, who is representing Desmond Mills Jr. says he is still undecided whether to have his client join the motion to sever his case.

“There are strategic advantages to having something like this tried all at once,” he said. “There are potential advantages to having them separated.”

A criminal trial is not expected to begin until at least next year.

Katie is a part-time WKNO contributor. She's always eager to hear your story ideas. You can email her at kriordan@wkno.org