A sixth Memphis Police Department officer has been relieved of duty in connection with the case of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died days after he was beaten during a traffic stop earlier this month.
Driving the news: Preston Hemphill was relieved from the force as an investigation continues, department spokesperson Christopher Williams confirmed Monday, days after the city of Memphis released harrowing footage of Nichols’ arrest.
Background: Five fired Memphis police officers involved in Nichols’ arrest were each charged last week with second degree murder.
Former officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith, who are also Black men, were each also charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.Hemphill had been hired in 2018, per Williams. The big picture: The Department of Justice and the FBI Memphis Field Office are investigating whether Nichols’ civil rights were violated by police.
While the Shelby County medical examiner’s office has not released an official cause of death, attorneys representing Nichols’ family revealed last week that preliminary findings from an independent autopsy revealed he “suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating.”After the release of the video footage, the Memphis Police Department announced it had permanently disbanded the special unit Scorpion in the wake of the murder charges brought against five of its members.Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis on Friday before the videos’ release condemned the actions of the officers involved in Nichols’ arrest, calling their behavior “unconscionable.”Davis said at the time two paramedics were also under investigation by the Memphis fire chief over their actions throughout the incident, as an assessment of the footage indicated that they delayed in giving medical care to Nichols.Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional background.
Source : Axios