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6th officer fired after beating Tyra Nichols’ death

6th officer fired after beating Tyra Nichols’ death

A sixth Memphis officer was fired Friday after an internal police investigation found he violated several department policies in the violent arrest of Tyra Nichols, including rules on the deployment of a stun gun, officials said. were involved.

Preston Hemphill had previously been suspended as he was investigated for his role in the January 7 arrest of Nichols, who died three days later. Five Memphis officers have already been fired and charged with second-degree murder in Nichols’ death.

Hemphill was the third officer at the traffic stop prior to the violent arrest, but was not the one where Nichols was beaten.

On body camera footage from the initial stop, Hemphill is heard saying that he stunned Nichols and declared, “I hope they kick his ass.”

Also on Friday, a Tennessee board suspended the emergency medical technician licenses of two former Memphis Fire Department employees for failing to provide critical care.

The suspensions of EMT Robert Long and Advanced EMT JaMichael Sandridge are based on efforts by authorities to hold the officers and other first responders accountable for the violence against Nichols, who was Black. Six black officers have been fired and have been charged with second-degree murder and other charges. Another officer has been suspended. The Justice Department has launched a civil rights investigation into the assault captured on video.

Three fire department employees were fired after Nichols’ death. Former Fire Department Lieutenant Michelle Whitaker was the third employee, but her license was not considered for suspension on Friday. The department has said that she remained in the engine with the driver on January 7 in response to the beating of Nichols. He died on 10 January.

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Emergency Medical Services Board member Jeff Beaman said during Friday’s emergency meeting that there could have been other licensed personnel at the scene — including a supervisor — who could have prevented the situation that led to Nichols’ death. Beaman said he hopes the board will look to him in the future.

Matt Gibbs, an attorney with the state health department, said the two suspensions were “not the final settlement of this whole matter.”

Board members viewed 19 minutes of surveillance video that showed Long and Sandridge as they failed to attend to Nichols, who could not remain seated upright in the side of the vehicle, lying on the ground several times. They also considered an affidavit by the EMS deputy chief of the Memphis Fire Department.

“The (state) Department of (Health) alleges that neither Mr. Sandridge nor Mr. Long engaged in the emergency care and treatment of patient Tien, who was clearly in distress during a 19-minute period,” Gibbs said. “

Board member Sullivan Smith said it was “obvious even to a layman” that Nichols was “in terrible trouble and needed help.”

“And they failed to provide that assistance,” Smith said. “Those were their best shots, and they failed to help.”

Fire Chief Gina Sweat has said the department received a call from police after someone pepper sprayed them. When workers arrived at 8:41 p.m., Nichols was handcuffed to the ground and pinned against a squad car, the statement said.

Long and Sandridge, based on the nature of the call and the information provided by police, “failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols,” the statement said.

There was no immediate response to a voicemail seeking comment left at a number listed for Long. A person who answered phone calls to the number listed for Sandridge declined to comment on the board’s decision.

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The statement said an ambulance was called and it arrived at 8:55 p.m. Authorities said an emergency unit attended to Nichols and left with him for the hospital at 9:08 p.m., which was 27 minutes after Long, Sandridge and Whittaker arrived.

An investigation determined that the trio violated several policies and protocols, with the statement saying that “their actions or inactions on the scene that night did not meet the expectations of the Memphis Fire Department.”

Nichols was thrashed after being stopped by police for reporting a traffic violation. Videos released after pressure from Nichols’ family showed officers holding him down and repeatedly punching, kicking and batting him as he screamed for his mother.

Six of the officers involved were part of the so-called Scorpion unit, which targets violent criminals in high-crime areas. Police Chief Cerelin “CJ” Davis said after the release of the video that the unit had been disbanded.

The killing led to renewed public discussion about how police forces may treat black citizens with excessive violence, regardless of the race of both the police officers and the police themselves.

At Nichols’ funeral on Wednesday, calls for reform and justice combined with grief over the loss of a son, a brother, a father and a man remembered as a passionate photographer and skateboarder.


For more coverage of the Tyre Nichols case, see https://apnews.com/hub/tyre-nichols,

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