Five Memphis Police officers who were involved in the traffic stop that led to a 29-year-old man’s hospitalization and eventual death were fired on Friday night.
The police department claimed in a statement that the officers, who had between 2.5 and 5 years on the force, had broken numerous departmental rules, including those regarding the use of force, failing to render aid, and their obligation to intervene. Three days after the traffic stop, Memphis resident Tyre D. Nichols passed away.
According to a written statement from Memphis Police Chief Carolyn “CJ” Davis, “each officer charged was terminated from the Memphis Police Department earlier today.” “This incident’s atrocious nature is not a reflection on the sterling work that our officers do each and every day with integrity,” the police department said.
The accusations Davis makes are administrative in nature and not criminal in nature.
The following officers were let go on Friday night: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith. Since August 2020, August 2020, March 2018, March 2017, and March 2018, respectively, they have worked for the department.
Following a nearly two-week-long internal inquiry into potential policy infractions that might have occurred during the traffic stop, the officers were released.
The older sister of Nichols, Keyana Dixon, expressed her rage upon seeing their faces. “My heart has been torn open, but I’m trying to keep it together. The torture, that is.”
Nichols’ older brother Jamal Dupree and longtime friend Angelina Paxton both expressed their disappointment in the officers involved.
BREAKING: The 5 @MEM_PoliceDept officers involved in the traffic stop that led to the death of Tyre Nichols have been terminated.
Emmitt Martin III
Desmond Mills Jr.
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) January 21, 2023
In a joint statement, Dupree and Paxton said that because they were aware of the history of police interactions with the Black community throughout time, “these men took a position of power and instead of doing something to better the future and honor the past, they became no better than the days of Emmett Till.” “They have disappointed us all. They will receive justice.”
Nichols passed away on January 10, three days after being stopped for a traffic violation.
Officers stopped Nichols on January 7 at roughly 8:30 p.m., according to a statement from the Memphis Police Department, and a “confrontation” followed. Nichols eventually fled, but he was later taken into custody. At that point, according to the officers, another “confrontation” occurred, but he was already in custody.
Nichols “complained of a shortness of breath” following this, according to the police, and was brought to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition.
Soon after his passing, a picture of Nichols with intubation was made public. A series of large welts marred his face, making it look unattractive. His nose was almost in the shape of an “s.” His intubation tube and hospital sheets both had blood on them.
Nichols’s ailments, according to his family, were kidney failure and brain swelling. The day before he passed away, he was connected to a dialysis machine, according to Nichols’ stepfather Rodney Wells.
On January 17, 2023, a memorial service for Tyre Nichols was held at the Memphis funeral home MJ Edwards. Two encounters with the Memphis Police Department led to Nichols’ death. Tyre’s brother Jamal Dupree talks throughout the service, sharing some of his favorite memories.
The involved officers were placed on leave, and the city and police department launched an internal inquiry. The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office promptly contacted the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into the officers’ “use of force” during the encounter.
Just over a week after Nichols’ passing, the FBI Memphis Field Office, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and the United States Attorney’s Office all announced that a federal investigation into alleged civil rights violations by the police was in progress.
Public authorities, such as Davis, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, and Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy, have responded by urging the public to exercise patience while an internal inquiry is ongoing.
Tyre Nichols’ older sister Keyana Dixon sobs as she describes the sorrow her family is experiencing in the wake of her brother’s passing on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023. Following a traffic check by the Memphis Police Department on January 10, Nichols passed away.
Transparency has been requested by family members and members of the public, who have also called for the quick release of any video taken during the traffic stop.
A city representative stated that the film would be made public as early as Monday, but first, it would be shown to Nichols’ family. Just before Nichols’ funeral, it was revealed that the footage will be made available to the public.
Wells said during the funeral service that the family has also demanded that all of the officers involved be charged with “murder one.”
Friends and family described Nichols as someone who would “light up the room” when he entered. For someone who possessed “this much light,” Nichols died in “a horrible way,” according to Paxton.