Memphis Cop 'Relieved of Duty' Over Nichols Beating

Preston Hemphill is 6th Memphis police officer to be disciplined over the brutal arrest
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 30, 2023 11:29 AM CST
6th Memphis Cop in Nichols Case Faces Repercussions
Memphis police stand Sunday behind a locked gate at a precinct as a group of demonstrators arrive outside to protest the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, in Memphis, Tennessee.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

A sixth Memphis Police Department officer has been disciplined for his involvement in the brutal beating and arrest of Tyre Nichols, a department spokeswoman said Monday. Officer Preston Hemphill was relieved of duty shortly after the Jan. 7 arrest of Nichols, who died three days later at a hospital, said Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph. She didn't disclose Hemphill's role in the arrest, per the AP. Rudolph said information on disciplinary action taken against Hemphill wasn't immediately released because Hemphill wasn't fired, and the department typically releases information about officers who are relieved of duty after an investigation ends.

Highly anticipated video footage released Friday showed five Memphis Police Department officers using a stun gun, a baton, and their fists as they pummeled Nichols during a nighttime arrest on Jan. 7 after he was pulled over on suspicion of reckless driving. Nichols, a 29-year-old father, died three days later. The five officers have been fired and charged with second-degree murder and other offenses stemming from the arrest, which has shocked many for its brutality and revived calls for police reform around the country.

A Memphis police spokeswoman said Monday that information will be released when it becomes available. In addition to the five officers, who chatted and milled about for several minutes as Nichols sat on on the ground in obvious pain, two Shelby County sheriff's deputies have been relieved of duty without pay while their conduct is investigated. Two Memphis Fire Department workers were also removed from duty over Nichols' arrest. Nichols' funeral service is scheduled for Wednesday at a Memphis church.

(More Tyre Nichols stories.)

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