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Judge Resets Federal Trial Date for Ex-MPD Officers Charged With Crimes Related to Tyre Nichols' Death

Federal prosecutors, Kristen Clarke (left) and Kevin Ritz (at microphone), speak at a press conference Sept. 12, 2023 to announce a federal indictment against Memphis police officers accused in the beating death of Tyre Nichols.
Katie Riordan
Federal prosecutors, Kristen Clarke (left) and Kevin Ritz (at microphone), speak at a press conference Sept. 12, 2023 to announce a federal indictment against Memphis police officers accused in the beating death of Tyre Nichols.

The federal trial for the former Memphis police officers charged with crimes related to Tyre Nichols’ beating death has been pushed back.

The trial was originally scheduled for early May, but defense attorneys told a district court judge on Thursday that they needed more time to prepare. In court documents, they cited the complexity of the case due to the large amount of evidence they have been given.

Prosecutors did not object to their request to delay the start of the trial – now slated for Sept. 9.

The timing adjustment will likely also push back the separate August state trial in which the officers are charged with second degree murder for Nichols’ death.

He died in the hospital three days after the officers were captured on video footage repeatedly punching, kicking and striking him after he fled a traffic stop.

Attorneys said that Judge James Jones, who is overseeing the state case, had previously offered a date set in October as an alternative option for the trial.

Although there has been no official reset, a Shelby County prosecutor confirmed through a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office that Jones had previously provided a backup date.

One of the five former officers charged with federal civil rights violations has already pleaded guilty. He also intends to plead guilty to state charges.

A federal judge has yet to rule on several other pre-trial issues, including whether to grant a proposal from defense attorneys to have the trial moved outside of Shelby County due to widespread local media coverage of the case, which they argue could bias the jury pool.

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