The Memphis police chief dismissed five officers Friday for violating department regulations during a traffic encounter in Tennessee last month that hospitalised and killed a 29-year-old man.
Memphis police chief C.J. Davis said an administrative inquiry concluded that officers violated various regulations in the Jan. 7 traffic stop of Tyre Nichols, including excessive force, duty to intervene, and duty to offer help.
Officers were Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith. 2017–2020.
Davis said 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.”
Memphis Police Association President Lt. Essica Cage-Rosario cited an ongoing criminal investigation into Nichols’ murder and declined to comment on the officers’ discharge in an email.
She said “The citizens of Memphis, and more importantly, the family of Mr. Nichols deserve to know the complete account of the events leading up to his death and what may have contributed to it,”
The family’s lawyers argued Nichols and his family’s justice began with the cops’ termination.
“They must also be held accountable for robbing this man of his life and his son of a father,” attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci said.
“providing clarity into what led to the loss of this young man, father, and son. We will continue to demand transparency and accountability in this case, and will not stop until we achieve full justice for Tyre and his family.” the statement said they will study body camera footage of the traffic encounter in the coming days.
Nichols was arrested for careless driving on January 7. The department reported a “confrontation” and chased Nichols on foot.
The department stated Nichols complained of shortness of breath after another encounter while being arrested.