A sixth Memphis police officer has been fired in connection with the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols, marking the latest in a series of terminations and suspensions triggered by the traffic stop that culminated in his death.
Officer Preston Hemphill was suspended earlier this week while he was investigated for his role in the Jan. 7 arrest of Nichols, who died in the hospital three days later. On Friday, he was "departmentally charged and terminated" for violations including personal conduct, truthfulness and violating rules regarding a Taser stun device, police said in a statement.
Nichols was pulled over in Memphis' Hickory Hill neighborhood last month on suspicion of reckless driving. Video released days later shows officers holding him down and repeatedly punching, kicking and striking him with a baton as he calls out for help. Nichols at one point manages to escape the officers, who recapture him and continue the beating, video shows.
Hemphill was the third officer at the traffic stop ahead of the the arrest but was not at the location where Nichols was beaten after he ran away. He has been with the Memphis Police Department since March 2018.
Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith were also fired from the Memphis Police Department and charged with a slew of felonies including second-degree murder.
Police said in Friday's statement that an administrative investigation is underway, and "multiple MPD officers are under investigation for departmental policy violations."
Since Nichols death, seven Memphis police officers, including the five officers criminally charged and Hemphill, have been relieved of duty. A pair of sheriff's deputies in Shelby County have also been suspended for their response to the traffic stop and three Memphis EMTs were fired following an internal investigation.
On Friday, a Tennessee Department of Health board suspended the licenses of two of the fired personnel for failing to render emergency care and treatment to Nichols nearly 20 after arriving at the scene.
With News Wire Services