Sixth Officer Relieved Of Duty Following Tyre Nichols’ Death
A sixth member of the Memphis Police Department has been relieved of his duties due to Tyre Nichols’ death.
A sixth member of the Memphis Police Department has been relieved of his duties due to the deadly January 7 encounter between police officers and 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, police officials confirmed Monday, just days after police released shocking body camera video and surveillance footage of the incident, which led to murder charges against five officers.
Officer Preston Hemphill, who was hired by the department in 2018, was “relieved of duty,” according to Christopher Williams, a Memphis Police Department spokesperson.
Williams would not confirm when Hemphill was relieved or what his involvement in the case was, calling it an “ongoing investigation.”
Five other officers who were directly involved in Nichols’ arrest were fired more than a week ago for violating the department’s policies on excessive use of force.
Background of case
On Friday, the Memphis Police Department released surveillance footage and body camera video of the “confrontation” between five Memphis police officers and Nichols. Officials said officers were responding to a routine traffic stop after Nichols was allegedly driving recklessly.
The video shows officers attacking and beating Nichols during the incident, as Nichols screamed that he “didn’t do anything.” Nichols died from excessive blood loss three days after the incident, on January 10. On Thursday, all five officers whom prosecutors say were involved in Nichols’ arrest—Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith—were charged with second-degree murder, official oppression, aggravated assault and official misconduct. Attorneys for two of the officers indicated their clients will plead not guilty.
All five officers who were charged with the murder of Nichols were members of the SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods) police unit, a unit dedicated to fighting violent crime that has faced criticism from Memphis residents and advocates. On Saturday, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis disbanded the unit.