Tyre Nichols’ mother has spoken out after the five officers charged with his death pleaded not guilty. Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith all pleaded not guilty in their first court appearances. Tire died three days after a confrontation with the five cops during a traffic stop on January 7.
His family said he suffered a heart attack and kidney failure, and were in attendance as the officers entered their pleas.
Tyre’s mother, RowVaughn Wells, and stepfather, Rodney Wells, spoke to reporters after leaving the courtroom, sharing their heartbreak at their loss.
“I feel very numb right now,” Wells said. “I feel very numb and I’m waiting for 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 now 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 — every one — until we get justice for my son.”
It comes after the judge confirmed the former Memphis PD officers would need to stand once again in court on May 1 after appealing for patience as the evidence is reviewed.
The five policemen were fired after the Memphis Police Department launched an internal investigation into the arrest of Nichols, who died in a hospital on January 10.
READ MORE: Memphis Police officers involved in Nichols’ death plead ‘not guilty’
Haley, Mills Jr, Martin, Bean and Smith are facing second-degree murder charges after Tyre’s death.
The officers have also been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
Judge James Jones Jr. told the courtroom that “despite everyone’s best effort, this case can take some time.”
He also asked all five officers to “be patient” and cooperate with their attorneys.
“Make sure if there are any delays, that these delays aren’t on account of any of your actions,” Jones said to the officers and their lawyers.
“We do ask for your patience,” he added, noting that “there may be some high emotions in this case” but the defendants “have an absolute right to a fair trial.”
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Meanwhile, civil rights attorney Ben Crump has denied rumors on social media that Nichols was beaten over a personal grudge.
“We are aware that there were photographs that were taken,” Crump said.
He said they had nothing to do with the “rumors that are out there in the social media world.”
“The family is dealing with enough, outside of these rumors,” Crump added while speaking from the steps of the city’s Criminal Justice Complex.
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