Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced the Memphis Police Department (MPD) will undergo an independent, third-party review following the beating death of Tyre Nichols on January 7.
In a weekly newsletter, Mayor Strickland announced, “To honor Tyre and help make sure this type of tragedy does not happen again, the City of Memphis has engaged the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (“COPS”), through the Collaborative Reform Initial Technical Assistant Center (“CRI-TAC”) program, and the International Association of Police Chiefs (IACP) to conduct a review of the Memphis Police Department.”
“The independent, external review by these agencies will include an assessment of MPD’s Special Units and use of force policies,” Strickland continued.
Strickland’s announcement came as MPD “reached an additional finding in the administrative investigation” into Nichols’ death, announcing that a sixth officer – Preston Hemphill – was departmentally charged and terminated from MPD for violating multiple department policies.
— Memphis Police Dept (@MEM_PoliceDept) February 3, 2023
Hemphill, who was hired in 2018, was departmentally charged and terminated for the following violations:
- Personal conduct
- Compliance with Regulations to wit: Conducted Energy Weapon (TASER)
- Compliance with Regulations to wit: Uniforms (issued equipment)
- Inventory and Processing Recovered Property
MPD previously revealed that Hemphill used a Taser on Nichols during the initial traffic stop.
So far, a total of seven officers have been relieved of duty amid the ongoing investigation into the death of Nichols. Three paramedics have also been terminated from the Memphis Fire Department as a result of its own internal investigation into Nichols’ death.
Apart from Hemphill’s departmental charges, five former officers – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin, and Desmond Mills, Jr. – were charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of Nichols.
Four out of the five former officers fired and charged with murder in the death of Nichols have previous records of disciplinary complaints, as previously reported by The Tennessee Star. All five officers charged with murder were also part of a special, 40-member SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods) unit, which has since been disbanded following Nichols’ death.
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Background Photo “Memphis Police Cruiser” by Thomas R Machnitzki. CC BY 3.0. and “Jim Strickland” by Mayor Jim Strickland.