Sixth Memphis Officer Involved in Deadly Beating of Tyre Nichols Relieved of Duty (UPDATE)

Memphis police have confirmed that a sixth officer involved in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols has been fired following the release of bodycam footage.

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UPDATED 2/7, 3:50 p.m. ET: Seven more Memphis police officers could be punished for their role in the death of Tyre Nichols, CNN reports.

According to City Attorney Jennifer Sink pointed out that officers are not facing criminal charges, and that if found guilty of any wrongdoing, their punishments will be handed out internally. 

See original story below. 

Memphis police have confirmed that a sixth officer involved in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols has been relieved of duty, WHDH reports.

Officer Preston Hemphill, who was involved in Nichols’ arrest on January 7, was let go from the force on Monday, police major Karen Rudolph announced. “He was relieved of duty with the other officers,” Rudolph said. “Remember, we said this investigation is ongoing. More information will be shared as it develops.”

The news comes just days after authorities released the graphic body camera footage of the encounter, which left Nichols hospitalized before he died of his injuries days later.

Per ABC24, the first of four body camera videos was that of Hemphill, who was relieved at the start of the internal investigation into Nichols’ arrest. “I can confirm that I represent Memphis Police Officer Preston Hemphill who was the third officer at the initial stop of Mr. Nichols. Video One is his bodycam footage,” said Hemphill’s attorney Lee Gerald. “As per departmental regulations Officer Hemphill activated his bodycam. He was never present at the second scene. He is cooperating with officials in this investigation.”

In the video, Hemphill was shown forcefully pulling 29-year-old Nichols from his car and using a taser on him. “I hope they stomp his ass,” he said in the clip after Nichols escaped.

Hemphill is the sixth officer involved in the deadly encounter to face some sort of disciplinary action in relation to Nichols’ death. Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith have been charged with second-degree murder.

The controversial task force tied to the death of Nichols, the Scorpion Unit, was also permanently suspended. The unit was launched back in November 2021, and stands for “Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace In Our Neighborhoods.” Police reform advocates heavily criticized the self-described “anti-violence unit,” which they said could lead to aggressive police tactics that would further damage public trust in authorities.

Cities across the country have seen protests in the wake of Nichols’ death.

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