More than a dozen Memphis fire, police personnel charged in Tyre Nichols’ beating

Memphis Chief Legal Officer Jennifer Sink said additional details and 20 hours of audio and footage from the Jan. 7 beating would be made public on Wednesday.

The City of Memphis has wrapped its investigation into Tyre Nichols’ death, charging more than a dozen staffers from the fire and police departments for their roles in the deadly beating.

According to NBC News, Jennifer Sink, the city’s chief legal officer, said at a Tuesday presentation before the City Council’s Public Safety Committee that the agencies conducted administrative investigations to see if employees violated departmental policies.

As a result, the Memphis Fire Department parted ways with emergency medical technicians Robert Long, JaMichael Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker. Department leadership suspended a fourth, unidentified employee. The charges they face remain unclear.

Tyre Nichols
The screen at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans honors Tyre Nichols before the Jan. 28 NBA basketball game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Washington Wizards. More than a dozen Memphis fire and police department staffers have been charged for their roles in Nichols’ deadly beating. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton, File)

In a statement, the fire service said the three fired EMTs broke several departmental rules and procedures in dealing with Nichols.

Sink said the city’s investigation resulted in charges against 13 police officers, two of whom had their charges dropped. Officials fired seven officers, placed three on administrative leave, and one resigned before a hearing.

Despite the officers’ claims, Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis said her office had not found any evidence to support the allegation that Nichols, 29, was initially stopped for driving recklessly. In a video made public in January, it appeared officers pepper-sprayed and punched Nichols, struck him with a baton and kicked him in the face.

Nichols died at the hospital on Jan. 10, three days after the brutal beating.

Attorneys for the Nichols family said the assault was similar to the one that Rodney King endured in 1991 at the hands of Los Angeles police. Nichols’ mother, Ravaughn Wells, said her son was only attempting to get home when the police stopped him.

“He was two minutes from the house when they stopped him,” Wells said at a January news conference, NBC reported. “He was less than 80 yards away when they murdered him.”

Wells emphasized, “Yes, I said murder,” noting that her son was already dead when she walked into the hospital room.

During the Public Safety Committee hearing, one member questioned whether the Police Department still employed any officers involved in the attack on Nichols. Sink confirmed that one of the suspended officers “did put hands” on Nichols’ legs. “But that was not a strike or an assault,” she noted, NBC reported. “He received a suspension as a result of his involvement.”

Former officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith are currently out on bond after they were arrested and criminally charged in Nichols’ death, theGrio previously reported.

They pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, official misconduct and official oppression. The judge set their next court appearance for May 1.

According to NBC, Preston Hemphill and an unidentified officer were “relieved of duty.”

Sink said additional details and 20 hours of audio and footage from the Jan. 7 beating would be made public on Wednesday.

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