Desmond Mills Jr. accepted a plea deal on federal charges and will plead guilty to second-degree murder and other state charges, authorities announced
A former Memphis police officer who initially pleaded not guilty to state and federal charges in connection with the death of Tyre Nichols has agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder and other state charges, and has also pleaded guilty to federal charges, authorities announced Thursday.
According to a statement from Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy, Desmond Mills Jr. has agreed to plead guilty to all state charges against him. Those charges include second-degree murder, aggravated assault and aggravated kidnapping.
A statement from the United States Attorney's Office in the Western District of Tennessee states that Mills has changed his plea to guilty on federal charges of excessive force and obstruction of justice after initially pleading not guilty.
According to the D.A.'s release, the plea agreements represent a "global settlement" in which state and federal authorities have recommended a prison sentence of 15 years. Mills' sentence will be determined by a judge at an upcoming hearing.
The D.A.'s release stated that Nichols' family was supportive of the agreement.
“I join Tyre’s family in saying this is a fair result, given Mr. Mills’ level of involvement, and his willingness to cooperate with us,” said Mulroy in the release. “His cooperation will help us bring to justice all those criminally responsible while also identifying needs for systemic reform within the police department.”
Nichols died in January, three days after he was brutally beaten by Memphis police officers, and the attack was caught in video released in the aftermath of his death.
The footage, viewed by PEOPLE, shows the 29-year-old Black FedEx worker when he was stopped by Memphis police Jan. 7 on suspicion of reckless driving.
Following the traffic stop, Memphis police said that Nichols left the scene on foot and that more than one "confrontation" ensued.
Four videos of the incident posted by the city of Memphis show police savagely beating Nichols for approximately three minutes. As Nichols collapses to the ground, he is punched several times in the head.
Mills is the first officer to plead guilty in connection with the case. Four other Memphis officers face similar charges and have pleaded not guilty, according to The Associated Press.
The other officers were also charged with murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and multiple counts of official misconduct and official oppression, according to online Shelby County Jail records reviewed by PEOPLE.
The other officers involved in Nichols' case are Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
Campaign Zero works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
National Cares Mentoring Movement provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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