Tyre Nichols's mother reacts to 5 ex-officers' plea of not guilty in beating death of her son

The five former Memphis police officers charged with murder in the beating death of Tyre Nichols, a Black man, pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges at Shelby County Criminal Court in Tennessee on Friday. “They didn't even have the courage to look at me in my face after what they did to my son,” RowVaughn Wells, Nichols's mother, said at a press conference after the arraignments.

Video Transcript

- Mr. Massey, are you prepared to arraign your client?

- I am, Your Honor. [INAUDIBLE] arraignment [INAUDIBLE] enter a plea of not guilty, and ask for a

- And just for the purposes of the record, your client's name.

- Emmitt Martin.

- Oh. And I see Mr Stengel, are you--

- Good morning, Your Honor. Demetrius Haley is my client, present in the courtroom. We await formal reading of the indictment, enter a not guilty plea, and ask [INAUDIBLE].

- Mr. Perry?

- Good morning, Your Honor. John Perry on behalf of Tadarrius Bean. At this time, we wait a formal reading [INAUDIBLE] to the court a plea of not guilty.

- Mr Summers, I see you back there.

- Yes, Your Honor, on behalf of the client I'd like to submit, Charles Summers, we enter a wait for [INAUDIBLE] indictment and we plead not guilty.

- Mr Ballin?

- Morning, Judge. On behalf of Desmond Mills, we're waiting for indictment [INAUDIBLE].

- Gentlemen, each of your attorneys have entered pleas of not guilty on your behalf.

ROWVAUGHN WELLS: This nightmare, basically, that I'm going through right now, I'm waiting for somebody to wake me up. Right? I'm really waiting for somebody to wake me up. But I also know that's not going to happen, OK? I know my son is gone. I know I'll never see him again.

But we have to start this process of justice right. And I want each and every one of those police officers to be able to look me in the face. They haven't done that yet. They couldn't even do that today. They didn't even have the courage to look at me in my face after what they did to my son.

So they're going to see me at every court date.

- Amen!


- Amen!

- Exactly.

- Amen!

ROWVAUGHN WELLS: Until we get justice for my son.

- Well, what did you think when you heard the words, "Not guilty."

ROWVAUGHN WELLS: Well, sir, they're going to say that. Now that's a procedure everyone's going to say and do. I'm going to leave it up to the district attorney's office to get them prosecuted and everything and then they'll find them not guilty-- they'll find them guilty, I should say.

So them saying they're not guilty, that's a preliminary thing. Everybody's going to say that and I was expecting it so it wasn't nothing new.

- Ms. RowVaughn, since January 7, your life has been completely upended, your family's been scrutinized, the whole world has been watching your family, but you've responded with grace and compassion that you owe no one. So I wanted to ask you, what's holding you together right now and what is sustaining both you and Mr Wells?

ROWVAUGHN WELLS: Only thing I could tell you is the [? prompt is the premium. ?] I have-- everybody-- I have-- people reached out to me from all over the world. I have received sympathy cards from people that I don't even know. People are praying for our family. That is what is holding us up, is the fact that, again, I have to always keep in mind that my son was sacrificed for the greater good. That's what's holding me up and that's what's keeping me together, and the fact that I do have three other children that I have to stay strong for.