Sixth Memphis cop fired following Tyre Nichols’ fatal police beating as calls grow for more officers to be charged criminally and for national police reform.
A person acquainted with his duties confirmed to CNN that Officer Preston Hemphill was a member of the force’s now-defunct SCORPION unit. As with the other cops, he “was removed of duty,” Memphis police Maj. Karen Rudolph said on Monday.
The City of Memphis has released a still from a video showing officers trying to stop Tyre Nichols during a traffic check.
sobs for his mother. Aid was delayed by 23 minutes. The Tyre Nichols police videos’ most important disclosures
Police spokesperson Kimberly Elder refused to reveal whether Hemphill is getting paid or if any other officers were placed on leave when the investigation into the harsh, two-part traffic stop on January 7 began.
Hemphill was the third officer during the initial stop of Nichols, according to the officer’s attorney, who also noted that Hemphill is working with the inquiry and “Hemphill was never present at the second scene.” According to departmental policy, Hemphill turned on his body camera, and, Lee Gerald continued, his tape was among the ones Memphis police shared on Friday.
After Nichols was fatally beaten by police, the official response was relatively quick: the five Black cops involved were fired, charged with murder and kidnapping, and their SCORPION unit was permanently abolished. Additionally, fresh information about the case is coming to light as US police use of force, particularly against persons of color, is under increased public attention.
Key issues in the Nichols case that have yet to be answered include:
A major concern of City Council member Frank Colvett is why more officers who were present at the site of the Nichols beating have not been reprimanded or suspended, he said on Sunday. Ad Feedback • If more penalties – including charges – are coming for officers.
It’s unclear if Hemphill or any other party will be prosecuted. Speaking on behalf of the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, Erica Williams said on Monday, “We are looking at all of the cops and first responders at the site.” “We are looking at everyone, but they may or may not be charged.”
The officers’ indictment charges coming so quickly, according to Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy, was “unusual.”
• How Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis of the Memphis Police Department will fare: While some have commended her quick response in the case, she also founded the divisive SCORPION squad that the accused cops were associated with. The police force and the leadership will face consequences, according to Colvett. She will have to answer not just to the council but also to the people in general and the entire world.
• What happens to the firefighters and sheriff’s deputies: Two Memphis Fire Department workers who assisted with Nichols’ first care were relieved of their duties while an internal inquiry was ongoing. Furthermore, two Shelby County Sheriff’s Office deputies have been suspended pending an investigation.
• If the passing of Nichols results in negotiations on a national scale for police reform, the Congressional Black Caucus has requested a meeting with President Joe Biden this week.
On Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on June 16, 2020, Chief Cerelyn Davis, president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and chief of the Durham (NC) Police Department, gives testimony during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to discuss racial issues and policing practices in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in the custody of Minneapolis police and the subsequent civil unrest. (Image courtesy of Jonathan Ernst/Pool/AFP) (Image via Getty Images by JONATHAN ERNST/POOL/AFP)
The Tyre Nichols case will put Memphis’ police chief to a severe test.
Mulroy claimed that authorities were aware that publishing video of Nichols’ beating without also charging the police may be “incendiary.” The inquiry should be finished quickly, and charges should be considered quickly so that they can be filed first, followed by the dissemination of the video.
The fateful encounter’s footage is unpleasant to see. Following a traffic stop, Nichols is repeatedly struck by officers with batons, punched, and kicked while at one point having his wrists tied behind his back.
As he was being kicked and pepper sprayed, Nichols was heard pleading with his mother.
He was left in shackles and slouched to the ground. Before a stretcher got on the scene, another 23 minutes had elapsed. Hospitalized Nichols passed away three days later.
TENNESSEE – MEMPHIS – SEPTEMBER 7, 2022: On September 7, 2022, in Memphis, Tennessee, police look into a shooting incident along Poplar Avenue and Hawthorne Street. Memphis Police issued a warning that a guy might be livestreaming a string of gunshots in several locations on Facebook.
The Memphis Special Police Unit is under investigation for the death of Tyre Nichols.
The civil rights lawyer for the Nichols family, Ben Crump, told CNN on Sunday that “all of these policemen breached their oath.” “They broke their promise to uphold and serve. Was anyone attempting to defend and assist Tyre Nichols in that video?
Protesters marched from New York City to Atlanta, Boston, and Los Angeles as a temporary memorial rose over the weekend on the spot where Nichols was assaulted.
The family of Nichols, who is currently the focus of unfamiliar media coverage, remembers him as a good father and son who loved skating, photography, and sunsets. They mourned the moments they will never experience again as they remembered his smile and hugs.
Also promising, the family stated that they will “keep chanting his name until justice is served.”
On Saturday, demonstrators assemble in New York to protest Tyre Nichols’ beating by Memphis police.
On Saturday, demonstrators assemble in New York to protest Tyre Nichols’ beating by Memphis police.
Getty Images/Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency
Expert disputes charges of second-degree murder
Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin, and Desmond Mills Jr., the five terminated cops accused of beating Nichols, are scheduled to be arraigned on February 17.
In a statement, the union that represents them, the Memphis Police Association, said that the city of Memphis and Nichols’ family “deserve to know the whole narrative of the circumstances leading up to his death and what may have led to it” but otherwise declined to comment on the terminations.
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According to his family, Tyre Nichols was a son and father who loved skating, photography, and sunsets.
Each is charged with seven counts, including second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping with bodily injury, aggravated kidnapping in possession of a deadly weapon, official misconduct, and official oppression, according to the Shelby County district attorney’s office.
Alexis Hoag-Fordjour, an assistant professor of law and co-director of the Center for Criminal Justice at Brooklyn Law School, said that a second-degree murder allegation, which calls for proof of intent to kill, may be more difficult to prove than a first-degree felony murder accusation.
Hoag-Fordjour noted that she practiced law in Tennessee. “For first-degree felony murder, that indicates that a murder occurred in combination with an underlying offense,” she stated.
“In this case, every single allegation that the Memphis district attorney brought against these five people was a felony. Kidnapping is the primary felony that would justify a first-degree murder charge, also known as felony murder.
John Miller original thumb bodycam
Reacting to the Memphis video, an ex-NYPD official said, “There is no OK here.”
The fact that cops are accused of kidnapping may seem surprising given that, according to Hoag-Fordjour, “we plainly deputize law enforcement agents to undertake seizures, to make arrests.”
But at this moment, what had been acceptable behavior went too far and became illegal.
Hoag-Fordjour argued that although second-degree murder verdicts are still feasible, first-degree felony murder convictions may be simpler to prove.
According to Hoag-Fordjour, a person may be found guilty of second-degree murder in Tennessee if they had a reasonable assurance that their conduct would cause someone’s death.
Additionally, she claimed that some of the punches delivered to Nichols, including as kicks to the head and baton strikes while he was immobilized on the ground, may have been considered fatal.
Unit of SCORPION connected to fatal assault is terminated
According to Memphis police spokesman Maj. Karen Rudolph, each of the five officers accused of beating Nichols was a part of the SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods) team, which has since been disbanded.
The team was established in 2021 and dispatched policemen to places where the police were monitoring increases in violent crime.
Crump stated, “We believe that the horrible conduct we observed in that video was part of the ethos of the SCORPION unit.
What is unknown regarding Nichols’ passing
Nichols was a “nice kid” who loved photography and skateboarding.
An overview of the case’s history
Whoever has seen the video says it is horrifying.
Before choosing to watch the video, read this.
Knowledge we have of the SCORPION unit
Following the video, calls for police reform have increased.
Who is Memphis’s police chief, Cerelyn “CJ” Davis?
The good that Memphis officials did
He continued, “Before we see something like this happen again, we ordered that they disband immediately. Tyre Nichols’ death was caused by the culture as much as it was by those police.
The squad will be permanently shut down by Memphis police. The Memphis Police Department declared: “While the terrible deeds of a few shed a veil of dishonor on the title SCORPION, it is vital that we take proactive steps in the healing process for all touched.”
Colvett agreed that the SCORPION unit should be dismantled.
The council member remarked, “I think shutting it down was the right thing to do, and the mayor is correct.” “The Memphis Police Department is not characterized by these kinds of activities.”
According to City Council member Michalyn Easter-Thomas, the case should provide the city an opportunity to “dig deeper” into community and police ties.
In Memphis, Easter-Thomas observed, “We saw a very calm and direct feeling of protest, and I think it’s because maybe we do have trust and optimism that the system is going to get it right this time.”
Growing calls for police reform
In 2021, the Democratic-controlled House enacted the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, but the equally divided Senate did not. Crump urged Congress to pass the bill.
Tyre Nichols’ violent beating constituted murder, and it serves as a sobering reminder that there is still much work to be done to address systematic police violence in America, according to a statement released on Sunday by Rep. Steven Horsford, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
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To deal with the release of violent movies, control your stress and be aware of your own limitations
The head of the Tennessee State Conference NAACP praised Davis for “doing the right thing” by firing the cops who beat Tyre Nichols immediately rather than waiting six to twelve months.
Gloria Sweet-Love, though, had harsher words for Congress: “You’re writing another Black man’s obituary by failing to draft and pass measures to end police violence,” she said. “You are responsible for the blood of Black Americans. So get up and take action.
Two Democratic state legislators declared their intention to introduce police reform legislation before the general assembly’s Tuesday deadline.
According to Tennessee state representative G.A. Hardaway, who represents a portion of Memphis and Shelby County, the proposals would aim to address hiring, training, discipline procedures, and mental health care for law enforcement employees, among other things.
According to Rep. Joe Towns Jr., this proposal should pass on both sides of the legislature despite the fact that Democrats are in the minority with 24 representatives to 99 Republicans.
You would find it difficult to see this video (of Tyre Nichols) and learn what transpired to that young man, he added, “and not want to do something.” What the hell would happen if a dog in this county was abused in that manner?
Correction: Tyre Nichols’ first name was spelled incorrectly in a previous version of this article.
Isabel Rosales, Mark Morales, Chuck Johnston, and Jaide Timm-Garcia of CNN Contributors to this report were Jasmine Wright, Phin Percy, Shimon Prokupecz, Sara Smart, Jamiel Lynch, Sharif Paget, Christina Zdanowicz, Amanda Watts, and Aileen Graef.