A sixth Memphis police officer has been suspended as the fallout from the release of graphic body camera footage showing the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols earlier this month grows.

Preston Hemphill has been placed on administrative leave, the department said Monday.

Hemphill may be the white officer who was wearing one of the body cameras which was released by Memphis PD on Friday. In that footage the unidentified officer was seen attempting to arrest FedEx driver Nichols, 29, after he was initially pulled over, then firing his Taser at him as he ran from police. He later says “I hope they stomp his ass,” but the officer is not part of the group who then chase Nichols down.

“Officer Hemphill is relieved of duty. This is an ongoing investigation. Once additional information is available, we will update our social media platforms. Hemphill was hired in 2018,” a department spokesperson said.

Other video taken during the deadly Jan. 7 traffic stop showed Memphis officers aggressively attempt to detain Nichols, then running after him when he managed to break free.

Five officers caught up with Nichols, who was black, minutes later, and mercilessly beat him and used telescopic batons and a Taser on him as he begged for his mother, whose home was only about 60 yards away, leaving him unconscious.

Officers Tadarrius Bean, 24, Demetrius Haley, 30, Emmitt Martin III, 30, Desmond Mills Jr., 32, and Justin Smith, 28, who are all black, were fired on Jan. 20 after an internal investigation found they had used excessive force and failed in their duties to intervene and render aid.

Days later, they were all charged with second-degree murder and other offenses and booked into Shelby County jail. Each officer posted between $250,000 and $350,000 bail and has since been released.

Tyre Nichols bodycam police arrest.
Hemphill was suspended following the release of body camera footage showing the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols.

Tyre Nichols bodycam police arrest.
Tyre Nichols died from his injuries three days later.


Five former Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder.
Five former Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder.


The police have declined to comment on the role Hemphill had in the traffic stop. He has not been fired or charged with a crime at this time. The officers who pulled Nichols over claimed had claimed they did so because he was driving recklessly.

The release of the video showing the assault of Nichols prompted protests across the US against police violence. People took to the streets in New York, Atlanta, Memphis, Oakland and Baltimore over the weekend in what were largely peaceful protests.

Many have been sickened by the bodycam video from the night of the police altercation. At one point, Nichols is lying on the ground defenseless as two cops hold him down while a third kicks him in the face multiple times.

Read more of The Post’s coverage of Tyre Nichols’ beating death

A fourth cop bludgeons him with a baton while another eggs him on, yelling “Hit him!” The video showed Nichols was punched in the head at least six times.

Nichols is then handcuffed and propped up against the side of a nearby police car.

Officers are seen on the video milling about, though none appears to pay attention to the badly battered Nichols pleading for help.

Paramedics arrive but wait about 15 minutes to treat Nichols. At least 20 minutes after that, an ambulance arrives and transports Nichols, who is complaining about shortness of breath, to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition.

Tyre Nichols.
Tyre Nichols in the hospital following the brutal beating.
Family of Tyre Nichols

Memphis Police Chief  Cerelyn Davis condemned the incident, calling it “a failing of basic humanity toward another individual. This incident was heinous, reckless and inhumane,” adding it was “about the same if not worse” than the notorious 1991 beating of Rodney King, who was viciously assaulted by Los Angeles police during a traffic stop.

Three days after the beating, Nichols died due to the injuries sustained in the “use-of-force incident with officers,” the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.

A preliminary autopsy report concluded he had “suffered excessive bleeding caused by a severe beating,” although the official cause of his death has yet to be released.

The Memphis police force’s elite Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods or “SCORPION” unit — of which the officers involved in Nichols’ beating were members — has been shut down because of the “heinous actions of a few,” the police department said.

“In the process of listening intently to the family of Tyre Nichols, community leaders and the uninvolved officers who have done quality work in their assignments, it is in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the SCORPION unit,” the department wrote on Twitter.

“The officers currently assigned to the unit agree unreservedly with this next step. While the heinous actions of a few casts a cloud of dishonor on the title, SCORPION, it is imperative that we, the Memphis Police Department, take proactive steps in the healing process for all impacted.”


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