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6th Memphis officer relieved of duty over Tyre Nichols beating

Jan 30, 2023


A few days after the Memphis Police Department released graphic video of officers beating Tyre Nichols, the department announced Monday a sixth officer has been disciplined. Unlike the five officers who have been fired and charged with murder in Nichols’ death, Preston Hemphill was suspended shortly after the incident earlier this month.

Monday a spokesperson for the department said word of Hemphill’s suspension was not immediately released because he was not fired and the department typically releases information about officers who are relieved of duty after an investigation ends. The Memphis police spokesperson did not disclose the officer’s role in Nichols’ arrest and beating.

The Memphis Police Department is not the only law enforcement agency disciplining officials in the wake of Nichols’ death. Two Shelby County sheriff’s deputies have been relieved of duty without pay while their conduct is investigated, and two Memphis Fire Department workers were also removed from duty. Calls for more officers to be fired or charged have been loud and persistent from the Nichols family, their lawyers and community activists since the video was released.

“Questions were raised before the video was released, I raised those questions,” Rodney Wells, Nichols’ stepfather, told The Associated Press. “I just felt there was more than five officers out there. Now, five were charged with murder because they were the main participants, but there were five or six other officers out there that didn’t do anything to render any aid. So they are just as culpable as the officers who threw the blows.”

As investigations continue, it was announced Sunday that Wells and Nichols’ mother RowVaughn Wells will attend President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address next month. They were invited by Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev. The caucus also said it was in talks with the White House about a meeting to discuss police reform.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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The fallout from Friday’s release of video showing Memphis Police officers beating Tyre Nichols during an arrest continues.
Nichols eventually died in the hospital.
Today — a police department spokesperson announced a sixth officer was relieved of duty shortly after the beating earlier this month.
That officer is Preston Hemphill.
A spokesperson for the department said this information was not immediately released because Hemphill was suspended — not fired — and the department typically waits until after an investigation is over.
The spokesperson did not say what role Hemphill had in the arrest.
Five officers have been fired — and are now facing murder charges related to the beating.
Nichols’ family has been awaiting word of any other disciplinary action against officers who were at the scene but have not been fired or charged.
On Sunday — it was announced Nichols’ mother and stepfather have accepted an invite to attend President Biden’s State of the Union Address next month.