The troubled Memphis Police Department has announced the dismissal of a seventh officer for their involvement in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, and they have also stated that additional charges are expected in the case.
The agency did not disclose if the unnamed officer would face criminal or internal charges or what role the officer played in the incident. Officer Preston Hemphill’s suspension was reported earlier. However, no criminal charges have been filed against him as of yet.
“Officer Preston Hemphill and other officers’ actions and inactions have been and continue to be part of an investigation since its inception,” the department said in a statement to NBC.
“We expect the next phase of personnel actions in the coming days,” it added without elaborating.
On Monday, Hemphill’s attorney, Lee Gerald, acknowledged that his client was the white officer shown in the body camera footage from the fatal traffic encounter that occurred on January 7.
As Nichols fled from police, Hemphill was seen firing a stun gun at him. However, Hemphill was not present at the second scene, where five black police officers punched, kicked, and swung a collapsible baton at the 29-year-old black FedEx worker.
Internal investigations revealed that on January 20th, officers Tadarrius Bean, 24, Demetrius Haley, 30, Emmitt Martin III, 30, Desmond Mills Jr., 32, and Justin Smith, 28, were terminated for using excessive force and failing to administer aid.
Each of the five former police officers has been charged with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one act of official oppression, and one count of aggravated assault. On the same day, Robert Long, JaMichael Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker were all let go from the Memphis Fire Department’s EMS division. The paramedics had been fired before.
Chief Gina Sweat of the Fire Department stated in a statement that they had responded to a report from the police about a person who had been pepper sprayed.
He said he had “concerns about two deputies who appeared on the scene following the physical confrontation between police and Tyre Nichols.”
On Friday night, Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said that two deputies had been placed on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of an investigation.
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