The Memphis Police Department is holding five of its former officers responsible in connection to the death of Tyre Nichols.
The department announced the termination of Tedarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith on Friday (Jan. 20). They have each been charged with excessive use of force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid. The update comes two weeks after the agency launched an internal investigation and temporarily relieved the five men of their jobs.
As previously reported, Nichols was pulled over for alleged reckless driving on Jan. 7. The officers stated a confrontation unfolded when they approached the vehicle, and the 29-year-old fled on foot. When officers caught up with Nichols, another dispute occurred as he was handcuffed. Shortly after, he complained of shortness of breath and was transported to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition. He passed away two days later as a result of undisclosed injuries.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice have opened separate civil rights investigations into the traffic stop. Bodycam footage is expected to be made public in the coming days now that the Memphis Police Department has completed its review. The agency’s Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis reiterated to the public that the force is committed to “protecting and defending the rights of every citizen in our city,” in a statement posted to Twitter. It continued, “The egregious nature of this incident is not a reflection of the good work that our officers perform with integrity every day.”
Attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, who are now representing Nichols’ family, released a statement supporting the termination of the officers who brutalized the beloved son. “This is the first step [toward] achieving justice for Tyre and his family. They must also be held accountable for robbing this man of his life and his son of a father,” read the statement. Crump and Nichols’ family are expected to hold a press conference addressing the tragic incident and subsequent actions taken by the police department on Monday (Jan. 23).
View photos of the terminated officers and the department’s statement below.