A seventh Memphis cop has been relieved of duty over the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols – and the beleaguered department said additional charges are expected in the sickening caught-on-video beatdown.
The agency didn’t specify what role the officer, who has not been identified, played in the incident or say whether the person would face criminal or departmental charges.
Earlier, it announced that Officer Preston Hemphill had been suspended. However, he has not yet been charged with a crime.
“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 lawyer Lee Gerald confirmed that his client was the white officer whose body camera video from the deadly Jan. 7 traffic stop was released by police on Friday.
Hemphill was seen firing a stun gun at Nichols as he ran from police, but was not at the second scene where five black cops attacked the 29-year-old black FedEx worker with punches, kicks and collapsible baton strikes.
Officers Tadarrius Bean, 24, Demetrius Haley, 30, Emmitt Martin III, 30, Desmond Mills Jr., 32, and Justin Smith, 28, were fired Jan. 20 after an internal probe found they had used excessive force and failed in their duties to render aid.
The five ex-cops have all been charged with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression and one count of aggravated assault.
Also Monday, the Memphis Fire Department announced the dismissal of emergency medical technicians Robert Long and JaMicheal Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker. The EMTs had previously been suspended.
In a statement, Fire Chief Gina Sweat said the department received a call from police to respond to person who had been pepper-sprayed.
The workers arrived as Nichols was handcuffed on the ground and slumped against a police car, according to Sweat, who said Long and Sandridge “failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols.”
Two Shelby County sheriff’s deputies were also relieved of duty without pay pending an administrative investigation, Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. announced Friday night.
He said he had “concerns about two deputies who appeared on the scene following the physical confrontation between police and Tyre Nichols.”
Police Chief Cerelyn Davis has described the incident as “a failing of basic humanity toward another individual. This incident was heinous, reckless and inhumane.”
The police force’s special Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods unit, or “SCORPION,” of which the cops were members, has been shut down as a result of the death.
With Post wires
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