Photo: Pool / Pool via Getty Images
  /  02.19.2023

RowVaughn Wells has vowed to appear in court for every hearing as five former Memphis police officers’ fates lie in limbo in connection with the fatal beating that led to her son Tyre Nichols’ death.

“This is the beginning of the process. We’re gonna be here at every court date so that they [the former officers] can know that we’re here,” said RowVaughn as she stood beside her husband, Rodney Wells, their attorney, Benjamin Crump, and others during a Feb. 17 press conference. The next hearing is scheduled for May 1.

“I know my son is gone. I know I’ll never see him again, but we have to start this process for justice right now. 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,” continued RowVaughn. “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.”

Moments before she spoke to the public, a heartbroken RowVaughn looked on from inside a Shelby County Criminal Court room as disgraced officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith each pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and other charges.

The men were terminated after an internal investigation into a Jan. 7 traffic stop determined they violated multiple department policies. Bodycam footage from their encounter with the 29-year-old father showed the men pummeling Nichols. He died three days later after suffering critical injuries. In addition to second-degree murder, they were charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.

Last week, WREG reported that fired EMTs Robert Long, JaMichael Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker are each appealing their terminations. Long and Sandridge were relieved of duty on Jan. 30 after it was determined that they failed to render Nichols aid in a timely manner. Whitaker reportedly remained in the truck.



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