A sixth Memphis police officer has been fired following the traffic stop that resulted in the death of Tire Nichols earlier this month, the department said Monday.
Body camera video released Friday showed the officer, identified by police and his attorney as Preston Hemphill, firing a stun gun at Nichols as he initially fled police on Jan. 1. 7 stops.
“I can confirm that I represent Memphis Police Officer Preston Hemphill, the third officer on the initial stop of Mr. Nichols. Video One is his body camera footage,” attorney Lee Gerald said in a statement said the statement.
However, according to the lawyer, Hemphill was not at the scene of Nichols’ beating.
“He was never present in the second scene. He is cooperating with officials on this investigation,” Gerald said.
More coverage of Tire Nichols’ death
Five other officers – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith — fired in January. 20 After an administrative investigation found they had violated departmental policy on the use of force. They were employed between 2017 and 2020.
Prosecutors announced last week that the former officers were charged with second-degree murder, two counts of misconduct in public office, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression and one count of aggravated battery.
Asked why the department did not announce disciplinary action against Hemphill on the same day it announced the dismissal of the five officers, a police spokesperson said: “The names of the other five officers were announced when they were charged by the department. Criminal charges were then followed. Officer Hemphill has not received departmental or criminal charges. As we have been told, the investigation is ongoing. After hearing Officer Hemphill’s name in Tire Nichols live video released Friday night, he The name came up. We just confirmed his mission with a sigh of relief.”
For Nichols’ family attorney, Ben Crump, that answer wasn’t enough.
“Today’s news from Memphis officials that Officer Preston Hemphill, who was reportedly fired a few weeks ago, has yet to be fired or charged is very disappointing. The role played in the death of him is only revealed now?” he asked.
Crump added: “From the very beginning we have asked the Memphis Police Department to be transparent with families and the community – this message seems to indicate that they have not come forward. This of course begs the question why the white men involved in this brutal attack Officers are protected from the public eye and, to date, have not been adequately disciplined and held accountable. The Memphis Police Department owes us all of our answers.”
The office of Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said Monday that authorities “worked very quickly but thoroughly to prosecute those whose crimes were clear and directly resulted in Mr.’s death.” Nichols,” but the investigation is far from over.
“The current charges do not prevent us from adding additional charges as more information is provided. We are investigating all individuals involved in the events before, during and after the assault on Tire Nichols. This includes officers who were present at the initial encounter but have not yet been charged , Memphis Fire Department personnel and those involved in preparing documentation of the incident afterward,” Mulroy’s office said in a statement.
“Removing someone is not firing them”
At least one city official said the disciplinary action against Hemphill wasn’t enough.
“For the record, removing someone is not firing them,” said JB Smiley Jr., vice president of the Memphis City Council. tweetsending the post with “#FirePrestonHemphill” and “#JusticeForTyre”.
The Memphis Police Association, the union representing rank-and-file officers, could not be reached for comment.
Nichols, a 29-year-old black man who was an amateur photographer and skateboarder, He was taken to hospital in a critical condition and died three days after traffic was interrupted.
Multiple police videos show officers punching and kicking Nichols with batons.
There are three videos from police body cameras and one from a police surveillance camera mounted on a pole. Body camera video showed Nichols escaping on the ground. At least one officer was sprayed on Nichols during the first encounter, appearing to have been hit with the chemical irritant.
Nichols managed to make his way to his mother’s neighborhood, and was about 80 yards from her home when multiple officers were captured on video assaulting him as he repeatedly yelled “Mom!”
“I’ll take you—”
Body camera video cited by Hemphill’s attorney shows an officer arriving at a traffic stop and pointing a gun. Another yelled, “You’re going to blow up your a–.”
Video shows one of the officers pulling Nichols out of the car.
Video footage showed multiple officers circling around him as he fell to the ground. They sometimes shouted conflicting orders to him amidst the chaos.
“I’ll stalk your a-,” one officer yelled.
Officers yelled at Nichols, told him to lie on the ground and put his hands behind his back. The video shows him lying on his side on the ground with one officer holding his arm and another holding the other hand.
Nichols said, “Well, man, damn it!” At one point, “You guys are really doing a lot of stuff right now. … I just want to go home.
He told officers to yell at him: “I’m on the ground!” before appearing to be sprayed with a chemical irritant, the video shows.
According to the footage, Nichols managed to break free from the officers’ restraints as he struggled on the ground. An officer then fired a stun gun at him as he sprinted.
The video shows the officer chasing him for a short distance before stopping.
“Taser deployed,” the officer said, panting. He then described Nichols, giving the direction and street he was last seen running.
According to the video, the officer also said, “One of the forks hit the b——,” referring to the stun gun he fired.
Traffic stop fallout affects other agencies
The fallout from Nichols’ traffic stop and fatal beating has spread to other agencies beyond the Memphis Police Department.
Two Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputies have been removed pending an administrative investigation related to Nichols’ death, Shelby Floyd Bonner Jr. Announce Friday night after watching the video for the first time.
Bonner said he was “concerned about the two deputies who were present after police officers got into a physical altercation with Tyre Nichols.”
The sheriff said the investigation will look into their actions to determine what happened and whether any policies were violated.
Two Memphis firefighters were also “fired” last week while the department conducts an internal investigation into Nichols’ death.
Fire spokeswoman Qwanesha Ward said the employees were “involved in Nichols’ initial patient care”; she gave no further details.
“This is an ongoing investigation and we are unable to comment further at this time,” Ward said in a statement in January. 24 statements.