Memphis 6th police officer suspended in death of Tire Nichols

MEMPHIS – The Memphis Police Department confirmed Monday that a sixth officer has been suspended from duty in relation to Tire Nichols’ death.

Five officers were fired by the department earlier this month, shortly after being placed on leave, and charged last week with second degree murder in connection with the death of Mr. Nichols. The sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, has been placed on administrative leave; It’s unclear exactly what role he played in the encounter.

A department spokesman confirmed on Monday that Mr Hemphill was placed on leave the same day that other officers were suspended.

Police officers kicked Mr Nichols in the head, pepper sprayed him and beat him repeatedly with batons after pulling him to the side of the road, accused of reckless driving, on the night of January 7, even while he was no sign of resistance on videos of the incident released on Friday. Mr. Nichols, a 29-year-old black man, died in hospital three days after the encounter.

Officer Hemphill’s attorney, Lee Gerald, said in a statement that one of four videos of the encounter released by the city on Friday, labeled Video 1, came from Officer Hemphill’s body-worn camera.

Mr. Gerald said of Officer Hemphill: “He was never at the second scene,” where officers caught up with Mr. Nichols after a short chase. He added that his client “is cooperating with officials on this investigation.”

This is an evolving story. Check back for updates.


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