An attorney for former Memphis police officer, Desmond Mills Jr., who is charged with second-degree murder in the deadly arrest of Tyre Nichols, asserted Saturday his client never “crossed the lines that others crossed.”
“The videos released on January 27 have produced as many questions as they have answers,” attorney Blake Ballin said in a statement to Fox News. “Some of the questions that remain will require a focus on Desmond Mills’ individual actions.”
“We are confident that the questions of whether Desmond crossed the lines that others crossed and whether he committed the crimes charged will be answered with a resounding no,” Ballin said.
Ballin’s comments came following the Friday release of bodycam and streetlight footage that depicted the violent sequence of events in which a group of Memphis police officers repeatedly beat Nichols while he was restrained with his hands behind his back using batons, fists and repeated kicks as he lay on the ground.
At one point in the video officers could be seen holding Nichols upright while others exchanged blows to his head.
Nichols, who was pulled over for an alleged traffic stop, was also tasered and sprayed with pepper spray in an incident that took place three houses down from his mother’s house on Jan. 7.
He died three days later in hospital after succumbing to his injuries.
It is unclear what role Mills played in the botched arrest that has been decried as a “failing of basic humanity,” as several officers arrived after Nichols had been beaten and was propped up against a police car.
None of the police officers, however, attempted to provide medical aid.
Ballin said it still needs to be determined what Mills “knew and what he was able to see when he arrived late to the scene,” what he was able to see after he too was allegedly impacted by the pepper spray, and “whether Desmond’s actions crossed the lines that were crossed by other officers during this incident.”
“We continue to urge caution and patience in judging Desmond Mills’s actions,” Ballin said.
Five officers, including Mills, have been charged with second degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
Ballin’s comments appear to be the first among the representatives of the charged to attempt to separate his client from others at the brutal scene.