On Thursday (November 2), ex-officer Desmond Mills pleaded guilty to federal charges and agreed to plead guilty to state charges in connection to Nichols' death, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office said.
Federal and state prosecutors agreed to a recommended sentence of 15 years. Judge Mark Norris will hand down Mills' sentence at an upcoming hearing. The ex-officer's state and federal charges will run concurrently, according to DA Steve Mulroy.
Mills also agreed to cooperate with federal and state investigations.
“This is the first domino to fall,” Nichols’ father said in a statement. “It’s a start,” his mother added.
Mills was among the five officers charged in the fatal beating of Nichols. The other officers still face a federal trial, which is scheduled for May 6, 2024.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee, Mills pleaded guilty to using excessive force, failing to intervene in the unlawful assault, and conspiring to cover up his use of unlawful force by omitting material information and by providing false and misleading information to his supervisor and others.
Attorney Antonio Romanucci, who is representing Nichols' family, said Mills' guilty plea marks a major "shift" in policing.
“Today you are seeing the tide turn. This is a monumental shift in policing,” he said.