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Five former Memphis police officers were charged Tuesday with federal civil rights violations in the beating death of Tyre Nichols as they continue to fight second-degree murder charges in state courts arising from the killing.

Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin and Justin Smith were indicted in U.S. District Court in Memphis. The four-count indictment charges them with deprivation of rights under the color of law through excessive force and failure to intervene, and through deliberate indifference; conspiracy to witness tampering; and obstruction of justice through witness tampering.

The charges come nine months after the violent beating during a Jan. 7 traffic stop near Nichols’ Memphis home, in which they punched, kicked and slugged the 29-year-old with a baton as he yelled for his mother. Nichols died at a hospital three days later. The five former officers, all Black like Nichols, have pleaded not guilty to state charges of second-degree murder and other alleged offenses in the case.

“We all heard Mr. Nichols cry out for his mother and say ‘I’m just trying to go home,’” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a video statement after the indictment. “Tyre Nichols should be alive today.”

U.S. Attorney Kevin Ritz in West Tennessee said at an afternoon news briefing that the state and federal cases are on separate tracks. Ritz declined to predict how quickly they would proceed.

Kristen Clarke, who leads the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil rights division, said at the appearance that the five former officers used excessive force, failed to advise medical personnel about Nichols’ injuries and conspired to cover up their misconduct.

“In our country, no one is above the law,” she said, adding she met earlier Tuesday with Nichols’ mother and stepfather. Caught on police video, the Nichols beating was one in a string of violent encounters between police and Black people that sparked protests and renewed debate about police brutality and police reform in the U.S.

Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, said she was surprised that the federal charges “happened so quickly.” The investigation that led to the indictment was announced in the weeks after the Jan. 7 beating death.


The once-powerful Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick will not stand trial on charges he sexually assaulted a teenage boy decades ago, as a Massachusetts judge dismissed the case against the 93-year-old on Wednesday because both prosecutors and defense attorneys agree he is experiencing dementia.

McCarrick, the ex-archbishop of Washington, D.C., was defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019 after an internal Vatican investigation determined he sexually molested adults as well as children. The McCarrick scandal created a crisis of credibility for the church, primarily because there was evidence Vatican and U.S. church leaders knew he slept with seminarians but turned a blind eye as McCarrick rose to the top of the U.S. church as an adept fundraiser who advised three popes.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Dr. Kerry Nelligan, a psychologist hired by the prosecution, said she found significant deficits in McCarrick’s memory during two interviews in June, and he was often unable to recall what they had discussed from one hour to the next. As with any form of dementia, she said there are no medications that could improve the symptoms.

“It’s not just that he currently has these deficits,” Nelligan said. “There is no way they are going to get better.” Without being able to remember discussions, he could not participate with his lawyers in his defense, she said.

McCarrick appeared via a video link during the hearing. He was slightly slumped in his chair wearing a light green shirt and what appeared to be a grey sweater vest or sweater around his shoulders. He did not speak during the hearing.

The once-powerful American prelate faced charges that he abused the teenage boy at a wedding reception at Wellesley College in 1974.

McCarrick has maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty in September 2021. He was also charged in April with sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man in Wisconsin more than 45 years ago.

In February, McCarrick’s attorneys asked the court to dismiss the case, saying a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine had examined him and concluded that he has dementia, likely Alzheimer’s disease.

At that time, lawyers said McCarrick had a “limited understanding” of the criminal proceedings against him.


A Russian court on Monday sentenced seven defendants to as little as three years in prison for distributing methanol-tainted drinks that killed 44 people.

The court in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, convicted the seven of charges including sale of goods that do not meet safety requirements and result in the deaths of two or more people; sentences ran from three to six years.

Prosecutors said the seven had illegally sold alcohol since 2020 and that in 2021 they sold drinks containing excessive amounts of methanol, which is commonly used as a solvent. A total of 51 people were sickened by the drinks, of whom 44 died.


The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled for the family of a nursing home resident with dementia that had sued over his care, declining to use the case to broadly limit the right to sue government workers.

The man’s family went to court alleging that he was given drugs to keep him easier to manage in violation of his rights. The justices had been asked to use his case to limit the ability of people to use a federal law to sue for civil rights violations. That outcome could have left tens of millions of people participating in federal programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, without an avenue to go to court to enforce their rights.

The Supreme Court has previously said that a section of federal law — “Section 1983” — broadly gives people the right to sue state and local governments when their employees violate rights created by any federal statute.

The court by a 7-2 vote reiterated that Thursday, with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson writing that Section 1983 “can presumptively be used to enforce unambiguously conferred federal individual rights.” Both liberal and conservative justices joined her majority opinion while conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.

The court had been asked to say that when Congress creates a federal spending program — giving states money to provide services such as Medicare and Medicaid — they shouldn’t face lawsuits from individuals under Section 1983. The court rejected that invitation.

The specific case the justices heard involves the interaction of Section 1983 and the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act, a 1987 law that outlines requirements for nursing homes that accept federal Medicare and Medicaid funds. The court was being asked to answer whether a person can use Section 1983 to go to court with claims their rights under the nursing home act are violated. The answer is yes, the court said.

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