A sixth Memphis police officer has been relieved of obligation after the visitors cease that led to Tyre Nichols’ loss of life earlier this month, the division stated Monday.
Physique digital camera video launched Friday exhibits the officer, recognized by police and his lawyer as Preston Hemphill, firing a stun gun at Nichols as he initially ran from officers throughout the Jan. 7 cease.
“I can verify that I signify Memphis Police Officer Preston Hemphill who was the third officer on the preliminary cease of Mr. Nichols. Video One is his bodycam footage,” the lawyer, Lee Gerald, stated in a press release.
Nonetheless, Hemphill was not on the scene the place Nichols was overwhelmed, in response to the lawyer.
“He was by no means current on the second scene. He’s cooperating with officers on this investigation,” Gerald stated.
Extra protection of Tyre Nichols’ loss of life
5 different officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — had been fired on Jan. 20 after an administrative investigation discovered that they had violated division coverage on using drive. They had been employed between 2017 and 2020.
The previous officers had been charged with second-degree homicide, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one rely of official oppression and one rely of aggravated assault, prosecutors introduced final week.
Requested why the division didn’t announce disciplinary motion in opposition to Hemphill on the identical day it introduced the firing of the 5 officers, a police spokesperson stated: “The opposite 5 officer’s names had been introduced once they had been charged departmentally, then subsequently charged criminally. Officer Hemphill has not obtained departmental or legal fees. As we have now suggested, the investigation is ongoing. Officer Hemphill’s identify got here out after it was heard within the video from the Tyre Nichols scene, that was launched Friday night. We’re merely confirming that he’s relieved of obligation.”
That reply was not enough for Nichols’ household lawyer Ben Crump.
“The information at this time from Memphis officers that Officer Preston Hemphill was reportedly relieved of obligation weeks in the past, however not but terminated or charged, is extraordinarily disappointing. Why is his id and the function he performed in Tyre’s loss of life simply now coming to mild?” he requested.
Crump added: “We’ve got requested from the start that the Memphis Police Division be clear with the household and the group — this information appears to point that they haven’t risen to the event. It actually begs the query why the white officer concerned on this brutal assault was shielded and protected against the general public eye, and up to now, from enough self-discipline and accountability. The Memphis Police Division owes us all solutions.”
Shelby County District Legal professional Steve Mulroy’s workplace on Monday stated authorities “labored terribly swiftly however completely to cost these whose offenses had been plain and clear and instantly contributed to the loss of life of Mr. Nichols,” however the investigation is much from over.
“The present fees don’t preclude us from including further fees as extra data is introduced. We’re taking a look at all people concerned within the occasions main as much as, throughout, and after the beating of Tyre Nichols. This consists of the officer current on the preliminary encounter who has not — to this point —been charged, Memphis Fireplace Division personnel, and individuals who participated in getting ready documentation of the incident afterward,” Mulroy’s workplace stated in a press release.
‘Relieving somebody of obligation is just not firing them’
A minimum of one metropolis official stated the self-discipline in opposition to Hemphill doesn’t go far sufficient.
“For the report, relieving somebody of obligation is just not firing them,” Memphis Metropolis Council Vice Chair J.B. Smiley Jr. tweeted, ending the submit with “#FirePrestonHemphill” and “#JusticeForTyre.”
A consultant with the union representing rank-and-file officers, the Memphis Police Affiliation, couldn’t be reached for remark.
Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who was an novice photographer and skateboarder, was hospitalized in important situation and died three days after the visitors cease.
A number of police movies present officers punching, kicking and hitting Nichols with a baton.
There have been three movies from police physique cameras and one from a police surveillance digital camera mounted on a pole. A physique digital camera video exhibits Nichols escaped whereas on the bottom. A minimum of one officer appeared to have been hit with a chemical irritant when it was sprayed at Nichols throughout the preliminary encounter.
Nichols managed to run to his mom’s neighborhood and was about 80 yards from her home when video captured a number of officers assaulting him as he repeatedly shouted “Mother!”
‘I’ll tase your a–‘
The physique digital camera video referred to by Hemphill’s lawyer exhibits one officer arriving on the visitors cease and pointing a gun. One other shouts, “You’re going to get your a– blown the f— out.”
One of many officers yanks Nichols out of the automobile, video exhibits.
A number of officers hover round him, in response to the footage, as he’s on the bottom. They generally yell contradictory instructions at him in a chaotic scene.
“I’ll tase your a–,” an officer shouts.
Officers yell at Nichols to lie on the bottom and put his fingers behind his again. He’s on his aspect on the bottom, with one officer holding on arm and a second holding the opposite, the video exhibits.
Nichols says “OK, dude, dang!” at one level, and “you guys are actually doing so much proper now. … I’m simply attempting to go house.”
He tells officers yelling at him, “I’m on the bottom!” and it then seems that he’s sprayed with a chemical irritant, the video exhibits.
Nichols, throughout a battle on the bottom, manages to interrupt free from the officers, in response to the footage. An officer then shoots a stun gun at him whereas he sprints away.
That officer chased him for a brief distance earlier than stopping, the video exhibits.
“Taser was deployed,” the officer says whereas respiration closely. He then provides an outline of Nichols and says the course and avenue the place he was final seen working.
“One of many prongs hit the b——,” the officer additionally says, referring to the stun gun he fired, in response to the video.
Fallout from the visitors cease hits different businesses
The fallout from Nichols’ visitors cease and deadly beating has unfold to different businesses past the Memphis Police Division.
Two Shelby County Sheriff’s Workplace deputies had been relieved of obligation pending an administrative investigation in connection to Nichols’ loss of life, Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. introduced Friday evening after watching the video for the primary time.
Bonner stated he had “considerations about two deputies who appeared on the scene following the bodily confrontation between police and Tyre Nichols.”
The investigation will look into their conduct to find out what occurred and if any insurance policies had been violated, the sheriff stated.
Final week, two Memphis fireplace personnel additionally had been “relieved of obligation” whereas that division conducts an inner investigation into Nichols’s loss of life.
Fireplace spokesperson Qwanesha Ward stated the staff had been “concerned within the preliminary affected person care” of Nichols; she didn’t present additional particulars.
“That is an ongoing investigation, and we can’t remark additional presently,” Ward stated in a Jan. 24 assertion.
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