Memphis Fires Five Black Police Officers for Violent Death of Tyre Nichols

The Memphis Police Department (MPD) fired five officers for the violent death of Tyre Nichols on January 10, 2023. The officers stopped Nichols, 29, for reckless driving during a routine traffic stop on January 7, but he ended up with a battered face in the hospital and subsequently died, Local Memphis reports.

His family and civil rights activists are calling for the authorities to release the video footage of the encounter he had with the police officers. Nichols was a black young man, and the five police officers are all black men. The names of the officers are:

· Tadarrius Bean
· Demetrius Haley
· Emmitt Martin III
· Desmond Mills Jr.
· Justin Smith

The MPD hired Mills in 2017; Smith and Martin in 2018; and Bean and Haley in 2020. The police department said it has conducted a due investigation into the circumstances surrounding Nichols’ death and concluded that the five officers used excessive force in arresting and handling him. They were all fired on Friday morning.

“The Memphis Police Department has concluded its administrative investigation into the tragic death of Mr. Tyre Nichols,” the MPD announced. “After a thorough review of the circumstances surrounding this incident, we have determined that five MPD officers violated multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid.”

The department also noted that “the egregious nature of this incident is not a reflection of the good work that our officers perform with integrity every day.” They further added that they are investigating to see if the officers had committed any violations during their years of work with the MPD so that they can be reckoned for these too.

Given the growing public demand for the authorities to release the video footage of Nichols’ interaction with the police, Shelby County District Attorney’s Office said it is working to get the video released after the conclusion of internal investigations. “Our office is committed to transparency and understands the reasonable request from the public to view the video footage,” DA Mulroy Steve said. “We’re working with the appropriate agencies to determine how quickly we can release the video and will do so as soon as we can.”

According to the charged Memphis police officers, they stopped Nichols for reckless driving, but he ran away and later reappeared, complaining of shortness of breath. The officers said they took him to St. Francis hospital, but he died. Nichols’ family said the officers had beaten him to the point of being unrecognizable in the hospital. Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is representing the family. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the NAACP have expressed interest in the case.