Sixth Officer Involved In Tyre Nichols Fatal Police Encounter Relieved Of Duty
A sixth Memphis police officer involved in the fatal encounter with Black motorist Tyre Nichols was relieved of duty. Five other officers were fired and charged with murder in the beating death.
MPD authorities said they removed Preston Hemphill from his position at the beginning of the investigation into the traffic stop that ended with Nichols hospitalized in critical condition, WREG reported.
Nichols, a 29-year-old FedEx worker and father of a 4-year-old boy, was pulled over and arrested by Memphis police officers on Jan. 7 for alleged reckless driving. Police body cam video, viewed by his family days before the public release, showed that officers shocked, pepper sprayed, restrained and beat him although he was unarmed. He died on Jan. 10.
Police officials said Hemphill, who was hired in 2018, “has been relieved of duty pending the outcome of the administrative investigation,” Newsweek reported. “This is an ongoing investigation. Once additional information is available, we will update our social media platforms."
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, one of the lawyers representing Nichols’ family, asked why it took so long for MPD “to reveal Hemphill’s identity and that he was reportedly relieved of duty weeks ago but not yet terminated or charged? Why was the white officer involved in the brutal attack of #TyreNichols shielded and protected?”
The five officers charged with second-degree murder, among other charges, are all Black. Authorities swiftly identified, fired and filed criminal charges against them.
MPD did not disclose Hemphill’s exact involvement in the case. But WREG reported that Hemphill was one of the first officers in the initial traffic stop, based on audio recordings of police radio.
Two Shelby County deputies and Memphis Fire Department employees also were relieved of duty for their undisclosed roles in Nichols’ death.