5 Memphis officers fired after Tyre Nichols investigation
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — On Friday, Memphis Police Department announced the five officers involved in the arrest of Tyre Nichols have been fired: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith.
The arrest of Nichols, 29, brought national scrutiny to the department and the city after the incident resulted in the man’s hospitalization and eventual death.
In a statement, MPD wrote:
“The Memphis Police Department has concluded its administrative investigation into the tragic death of Mr. Tyre Nichols. After a thorough review of the circumstances surrounding this incident, we have determined that five MPD officers violated multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid.
Earlier today, each officer charged was terminated from the Memphis Police Department. The Memphis Police Department is committed to protecting and defending the rights of every citizen in our city. The egregious nature of this incident is not a reflection of the good work that our officers perform, with integrity, every day.”
MPD Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis
Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy provided the following statement:
“We understand there are many questions from the public surrounding the Tyre Nichols case. Additionally, we’re aware of the reasonable requests to release video, which we are committed to doing as swiftly as possible.
But we must reemphasize the law places limits on such video release, and that we have to make sure we do so without compromising our ability to arrive at justice in this case.
Those who know me know I don’t take situations like this lightly and that I believe firmly in transparency. I ask for your patience as we gather all necessary information so that we don’t compromise the investigation or any possible future prosecution.”
What we know about the case
- On Jan. 7, MPD says officers stopped Tyre Nichols for “reckless driving.” Police say as they approached him, a “confrontation” occurred, and he took off running. After a pursuit, officers claim another “confrontation” occurred before taking Nichols into custody.
- Family says the second confrontation happened just yards from where he lived. The incident was also reportedly captured by a SkyCop camera.
- Police say Nichols then complained of “shortness of breath” and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
- Nichols’ family says the incident made him go into cardiac arrest, left him with a broken neck and he suffered from other medical issues.
- On Jan. 10, he died in the hospital.
Who is Tyre Nichols?
He leaves behind a 4-year-old son.
Family says he’s never been in trouble.
He liked to take pictures and loved to skateboard. Friends wore “Skate in Peace” shirts to his memorial.
- He was “infectious,” family said. The type of guy that “everywhere he went, he left an impact.” They say he had a “pure soul” and loved helping people.
- He worked at FedEx. The company released a statement and said, “We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of our team member.”
- Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy immediately asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to conduct an independent investigation into the use of force by Memphis police officers.
- On Jan. 9, his office sent an email stating they plan “to publish the redacted results on the SCDAG website when the findings are complete.”
- On Jan. 15, Police Chief C.J. Davis and Mayor Jim Strickland released a joint statement stating the officers involved in the incident have been served notice of “impending administrative action.” Davis also stated she reviewed “various sources of information involving this incident.”
- On Jan. 16, Nichols’ family retained civil rights attorney Ben Crump. He stated, “all of the available information tells us that this was the tragic and preventable death of a young man deeply beloved by his family and community.” He added, “nobody should die from a simple traffic stop,” and the footage is the “only way to discern the true narrative.”
- On Jan. 17, the city issued a statement saying the video would be released publicly after the completion of the internal investigation into the actions of the officers and after Nichols’ family has had the opportunity to review it privately. They have not said what type of video from the incident exists, but that they are arranging to meet with Nichols’ family next week.
- On Jan. 18, United States Attorney Kevin G. Ritz announced the U.S. Attorney’s Office in coordination with the FBI and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice opened a civil rights investigation into Nichols’ death.