One of the five former police officers charged in Tyre Nichols’ death has ties to Connecticut.
Desmond Mills Jr.’s defense attorney confirmed that he is from Connecticut during a press conference Thursday.
Mills was indicted and faces seven charges in connection to the death of Nichols, including second-degree murder.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
Nichols died three days after five Memphis police officers pulled him over on Jan. 7. His family shared a photo with NBC News, showing the 29-year-old hospitalized in critical condition.
Mills spent his early years in Connecticut. Stan Simpson, Bloomfield Public Schools spokesman, sent NBC Connecticut the following statement.
“Bloomfield Public Schools is aware of the disturbing situation involving five police officers in Memphis, Tenn. We can confirm that one of the officers – Desmond Mills Jr. - is a graduate of Bloomfield High School, Class of 2008. We will have no further comment on this, as it is a criminal matter."
Mills’ defense attorney Blake Ballin spoke about the 32-year-old, who is a father, at a news conference in Memphis.
“Not only is Mr. Mills obviously devastated to find himself charged with a crime, but as somebody who is on the other side of law enforcement,” Ballin said. “Somebody who has been in charge of keeping our community safe.”
Ballin said he has been learning more about Mills’ background in Connecticut.
“I actually spoke with some of his family members today. His father who talked about his own admiration for his son, as somebody who's dedicated his life to being a law enforcement officer,” he said.
Mills posted a $250,000 bond and was released from custody Thursday. Some of the other charges he now faces include aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and official misconduct.
His attorney says Mills plans to plead not guilty.
“I cannot imagine that he has anything other than feelings of grief for this family who has lost somebody,” Ballin said.
Ballin asks the public for calm, as video of Nichols’ encounter with those five former officers is set to be released by Memphis police Friday night.
“There's a very visceral reaction to videos like this,” Ballin said. “Unfortunately, we've all over the last couple of years seen videos where there's police brutality involved. And so I would just caution the public to reserve judgment. You're going to feel things, you're going to experience emotions. But know that there's always more to the story.”
Since all of the suspects in this case have already been indicted, Mills’ defense attorney expects it to be a couple of weeks before they appear in court for arraignment.