One of five former Memphis police officers charged in the beating death of Tyre Nichols has agreed to change his not guilty plea in state and federal court on Thursday.
Desmond Mills Jr. agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of excessive force and obstruction of justice, as well as related state charges related to death of Nichols in January, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office said.
As part of the plea deal, federal and state prosecutors will recommend a sentence of 15 years, though U.S. District Judge Mark Norris will make the final decision at a later sentencing hearing. After Mills is sentenced in May on the federal charges, he will then plead guilty to the state charges, Fox News reports.
Shelby County DA Steve Mulroy said the whole deal hinges on Mills’ full cooperation in both the state, federal criminal, and federal civil cases.
Mills and four other officers – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin and Justin Smith – were charged with excessive force and failure to intervene, deliberate indifference after being caught on video kicking, punching and striking Nichols with a baton on Jan. 7. Nichols died three days later at a hospital.