2 former officers charged in death of Tyre Nichols will plead 'not guilty,' attorneys say

Two of the officers indicted in the death of Tyre Nichols will plead not guilty, their attorneys said Thursday.

All five of the officers posted bond Thursday, with bonds ranging between $250,000 and $350,000.

Defense attorneys Blake Ballin and William Massey are representing Desmond Mills Jr. and Emmitt Martin III, two of the five former Memphis police officers charged in connection to Nichols' death.

The two defense attorneys spoke during a press conference Thursday, saying they had not yet seen the video of Nichols’ death and stressed how the death of Nichols had impacted their clients.

The press conference occurred on the heels of another called by the Shelby County District Attorney's office, where Mulroy said video showing the officers' actions will be released after 6 p.m. Friday.

In that conference, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation David Rausch said he was "shocked" and "sickened" by the incident and that it did "not at all reflect proper policing."

Both Mills and Martin have been charged with one count of second-degree murder, aggravated assault-acting in concert, ttwo counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct and one count of official oppression, court records show.

Those charges also apply to the three other officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley and Justin Smith — who were fired from the force and indicted in Nichols' death. It was not clear Thursday who represented those three officers.

“At this point we don’t know what proof we have, because we’ve not seen, we don’t have discovery, we haven’t seen the video," Massey said. “No one out there that night intended for Tyre Nichols to die. No one. No one. It’s shocking. It’s shocking to the officers.”

Ballin said Mills is known as a "gentle, respectful father, a family man."

“He could not be more upset about this entire situation," Ballin said. "Somebody who has dedicated his life to protecting society, protecting the community, to be accused of causing the death of somebody else is devastating.”

Ballin said he hopes people who view the video do so “with the understanding that there’s more to the story."

The two attorneys also criticized Rausch and others for their statements about the charges against the officers.

The case should be tried in Shelby County, Massey said, and statements like Rausch's make it harder to find impartial jurors.

The two also said there may be an argument that the men had excessive bond. Martin's bond is set at $350,000 while Mills' is set at $250,000

The officers were charged just under a week after being fired for their involvement in the traffic stop that precipitated Nichols' death over two weeks ago. Nichols died Jan. 10, three days after a traffic stop near his mother's home and after what Memphis Police called a "confrontation."

Since then, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn "C.J." Davis said an unspecified number of other officers are under investigation for violations of department policy. Davis also said that an independent investigation will take place to look into MPD's specialized units.

Micaela Watts covers issues tied to access and equity for The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at micaela.watts@commercialappeal.com.

Katherine Burgess covers county government and religion. She can be reached at katherine.burgess@commercialappeal.com or followed on Twitter @kathsburgess.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Two former officers charged in death of Tyre Nichols will plead 'not guilty,' attorneys say