Fired EMT Says Memphis Police Were 'Impeding Patient Care' of Tyre Nichols

Former Memphis Fire Department EMT Robert Long made the claim during his testimony Friday, nearly two months after Nichols' fatal police beating.

People gather outside Moynihan Train Hall while protesting the death of Tyre Nichols

Image via Getty/Michael M. Santiago

People gather outside Moynihan Train Hall while protesting the death of Tyre Nichols

A fired EMT has shed more light on Tyre Nichols’ death.

Robert Long, who was at the scene of the brutal police beating, accused Memphis officers of “impeding patient care” while Nichols was in their custody. Long made the allegation during a hearing with the Tennessee Emergency Medical Services Board on Friday, nearly two months after Nichols was fatally assaulted by the police.

According to NBC News, Long told the board he and another EMT, JaMichael Sandridge, encountered Nichols after receiving a call about an attack on an officer. Long said they were quickly informed that a cop had been pepper sprayed by mistake, but didn’t require medical attention. It was that time when Long and Sanbridge were directed to Nichols, who was allegedly handcuffed and propped up against a police car.

Long said he immediately noted Nichols’ injuries, which included bumps on the head, a busted lip, and bloodied nose. Long said he then asked the 29-year-old man what had happened, to which Nichols’ allegedly replied: “I want to stand up and be uncuffed.”

“I asked MPD what happened with the patient and the officer stated ‘he ran from us,’” he continued. “… MPD is leaning over the patient in his face saying loudly that the patient is not going anywhere and that they are not going to uncuff him, impeding patient care.”

Long also confirmed he was never instructed to deny the man medical care, and had made several attempts to take Nichols’ vitals; however, he struggled to perform the measurements, as Nichols’ kept rolling away from him. Long said he eventually called for an ambulance, which transported Nichols to a hospital. The man died three days later.

Long and Sandridge were fired from the Memphis Fire Department in late January, just weeks after five officers viciously attacked Nichols. The MFD said the terminations were based on a review that found Long, Sandridge, and another EMT, Lt. Michelle Whitaker, had violated multiple policies and protocols during their response.

Five officers—Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith—were also fired for violating the MPD’s “use of force” policy. They have since been hit with multiple charges, including second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression, and one count of aggravated assault.

It was later reported that Preston Hemphill and a seventh unnamed officer had been fired for their role in Nichols’ death.

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