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Attorneys react after ex-MPD officers charged in Tyre Nichols' death released on bond after first federal court appearance

“We were expecting this, we knew it was coming,” said Mills' attorney Blake Ballin. “We didn’t know exactly when.”

MEMPHIS, Tenn — Wednesday, four of the five former Memphis Police officers charged in the death of Tyre Nichols made their first appearance in federal court.

Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills, Demetrius Haley and Justin Smith pleaded not guilty to the new federal charges in Nichols’ death and were released on a $50,000 unsecured bond with conditions.

“We were expecting this, we knew it was coming,” said Mills' attorney Blake Ballin. “We didn’t know exactly when.”

Bean’s attorney John Perry Jr. told reporters he had no comment on the court’s decision. 

The conditions include avoiding contact with each other, turning in their passports, not traveling outside the Western District of Tennessee (with exceptions made for the two ex-officers living in Mississippi) and none of them are allowed to own a gun or even ammunition.

“All very standard, reasonable,” Ballin said. “My client Mr. Mills, none of these guys, are going anywhere. They’ve shown up for state court, there’s no reason for (the court) to do anything other than release them at this point.”  

Breaking any of these rules will result in a $50,000 fine. 

Going forward, Ballin said it will be a balancing act as they navigate both the state and federal court cases. 

“We all are fighting on two fronts now,” he said. “And I also won’t know anything about the federal schedule for a while. Although they told us to come back Sept. 21.”

The fifth former officer, Emmitt Martin III, appeared Thursday in court.

“We had planned to come in on Thursday, and other plans were made, and so some went in today, some are going in tomorrow,” said Martin’s attorney William Massey before the appearance. 

Both Massey and Ballin said their clients continue to take these charges very seriously. 

“It’s especially scary and uncomfortable for someone who dedicated his life to being a law enforcement officer and now finds himself on the other side of things,” Ballin said.  

The next federal court date for all five is set for Sept. 21 at 11:15 a.m. 

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