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Chief Says Officers Shared Pics Of Bloodied Tyre Nichols, Engaged In ‘Blatantly Unprofessional’ Conduct

Memphis, TN – Authorities released more documents on Tuesday that described what the “blatantly unprofessional” conduct of five Memphis police officers charged with the murder of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, including taking and sharing pictures of the bloodied suspect at the scene.

Documents released by the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission (POST) on Feb. 7 detailed Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis’ request to the state certification agency to have the five officers who have been charged in connection with Nichols’ death be decertified, the Associated Press reported.

Chief Davis fired five of the officers involved in the incident on Jan. 20, NBC News reported.

Now-former Memphis Police Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith were indicted by a grand jury on Jan. 26.

Each of the officers, all of whom are black, was charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault-acting in concert, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct, and one count of official oppression, the Commercial Appeal reported.

Chief Davis also fired a sixth officer on Friday.

Now-former MPD Officer Preston Hemphill, who was captured on bodycam video Tasing Nichols, was terminated on Feb. 3.

A seventh officer has been relieved of duty in connection with the incident and remains under investigation.

Chief Davis signed decertification request letters for all five of the officers charged with Nichols’ murder, the Associated Press reported.

“Your on-duty conduct was unjustly, blatantly unprofessional and unbecoming for a sworn public servant,” the decertification requests read.

The complaint against now-former Officer Haley said pole camera video showed that he took a photo of a bloodied Nichols after he had been beaten, the Associated Press reported.

Then he sent the picture of Nichols to the other officers on the scene, as well as to a female acquaintance, according to the Chief’s request.

The incident began just before 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 7 after Memphis Police Department (MPD) officers observed Nichols weaving in and out of traffic and stopped his car at an intersection, according to one of four videos released by the police department on Jan. 27.

The police chief said that now-former Officer Haley, who was wearing a black hoodie in the videos, pulled Nichols from his car while screaming obscenities at him and then pepper-sprayed the suspect directly in the eyes, the Associated Press reported.

“You never told the driver the purpose of the vehicle stop or that he was under arrest,” the chief’s letter read.

Police said Officer Haley didn’t have his bodycam on when he removed Nichols from his vehicle but that he was on the phone with someone who overheard the altercation, the Associated Press reported.

Nichols resisted arrest without violence and managed to escape the officers despite efforts to Tase him.

He fled on foot but was apprehended a few blocks later, and videos showed he received a brutal beating from the officers who caught him.

The request to decertify the officers said Officer Haley kicked Nichols in the torso as other officers were attempting to handcuff him, the Associated Press reported.

Others officers kicked Nichols in the head during the arrest and struck him with a collapsible baton.

When the suspect was finally handcuffed, bodycam video captured even more inappropriate behavior by the police on the scene, the Associated Press reported.

“You and other officers were captured on body worn camera making multiple unprofessional comments, laughing, bragging about your involvement,” the decertification charges against now-former Officer Mills read.

“You admitted you did not provide immediate medical aid and walked away and decontaminated yourself from chemical irritant spray,” the complaint read.

Now-former Officer Mills has also been accused of failing to give Nichols’ mother an accurate account of what had happened to her son when he notified her, the Associated Press reported.

The decertification requests said that now-former Officer Martin failed to disclose in his use-of-force report that he had punched Nichols in the face and kicked him multiple times, and told investigators that he had given the suspect “body blows.”

But bodycam video showed that Officer Martin punched Nichols in the face five times while two other officers were holding his arms, the Associated Press reported.

Videos also showed then-Officer Martin kicking Nichols repeatedly.

Police deemed Officer Martin’s oral and written statements to investigators “deceitful,” according to the charges filed against him.

The documents showed then-Officer Smith “admitted you struck an unarmed and non-violent subject with a closed fist two to three times in the face because you and your partner were unable to handcuff him. … You sprayed the subject with your chemical irritant spray and also held the individual’s arm while other officers kicked, punched and pepper sprayed him several times,” the Associated Press reported.

Officer Smith defended his conduct in a letter and claimed Nichols was “violent and would not comply,” according to the complaint.

The decertification paperwork accused now-former Officer Bean of having held Nichols by one arm while another officer pepper-sprayed and beat him with a baton, the Associated Press reported.

Nichols was ultimately transported to the hospital in critical condition and died three days later from injuries sustained during his confrontation with police, the Commercial Appeal reported.

Memphis City Attorney Jennifer Sink and Chief Davis spoke together at a city council meeting and said the investigation was active and ongoing, CBS News reported.

“There are seven additional officers who are under investigation,” Sink told the Memphis City Council. “The administrative investigation is still ongoing, and so this information is subject to change.”

“The administrative investigation is solely to determine if city policies were violated and what disciplinary action should be taken,” the city attorney explained. “The criminal investigation is being handled by the TBI [Tennessee Bureau of Investigation] and DA.”

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone


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