Sixth and Seventh Officers ‘Relieved of Duty’ in Death of Tyre Nichols

Almost a thousand of people are gathered at the Oscar Grant Plaza and take streets over Tyre Nichols killing by Memphis police, in Oakland, California, United States on January 29, 2023. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Police in Memphis, Tennessee, confirmed Monday that two additional officers were “relieved of duty” in connection to the death of Tyre Nichols, while two paramedics and a fire lieutenant have been terminated by the city’s fire department.

The Memphis Police Department (MPD) wrote in a press release that Officer Preston Hemphill and another unnamed officer “were relieved of duty” on January 8, the day after the brutal beating of Nichols during a traffic stop for “reckless driving.” In total, seven officers were relieved of duty that day, including the five who have been terminated and charged with murder.

Posted by Memphis Police Department est.1827 on Monday, January 30, 2023

The release read in part: 

Hemphill’s actions and involvement has been under investigation as he participated in the initial traffic stop and the use of a TASER. The five officers terminated were directly involved at the first and second scene where Mr. Nichols was physically abused and suffered serious injuries. 

Nichols died three days after the incident, on January 10. 

The MPD issued Monday’s press release hours after NBC News first reported that Hemphill was a sixth officer relieved of duty, citing a spokesperson with the department who responded to an email inquiry. 

According to NBC, the department clarified that Hemphill has not received departmental or criminal charges but did not specify whether the other individual has been charged.

The five former officers who were terminated, Demetrius Haley, Tadarrius Bean, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, and Justin Smith, have been charged with second-degree murder, kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression, as Breitbart News reported. All five former officers are black. 

“There are numerous charges developing that are still impending,” the MPD noted Monday and emphasized that the “next phase of personnel actions” was expected in the days ahead.

Additionally, two emergency medical technicians, Robert Long and JaMichael Sandridge, as well as Lt. Michelle Whitaker, have been terminated by the Memphis Fire Department (MFD), according to a statement by Fire Chief Gina Sweat.

Sweat revealed that an internal investigation determined the paramedics had “failed to conduct adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols” and that all three personnel had “violated numerous MFD Policies and Protocols.” 

On Friday night, the city of Memphis released body camera and surveillance camera footage of the incident, as Breitbart News reported: 

The footage shows the officers pulling behind Nichols’ car, exiting their vehicle, and ordering Nichols to get out of it while shouting expletives at him.

“I didn’t do anything,” Nichols can be heard saying as the officers drag him out of his car. Nichols calmly asked the officers to “stop.”

Nichols appears to resist the officers’ command to lie on the ground, which prompts one officer to utilize pepper spray. At one point, Nichols appears to struggle with the officers before running away from them as one discharges his stun gun.

Video from the second scene shows a subsequent “altercation” where officers were seen punching, kicking, and batoning Nichols. At one point, the 29-year-old Nicholas screamed out for his mother, who reportedly lived down the road from the scene.

An ambulance transported Nichols from the scene to St. Francis Hospital in Memphis, as Sweat noted. 

Following the video’s release, protests took place nationwide, including in Memphis, Dallas, Washington, DC, and New York, as Breitbart News reported.


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