Photo: Thinkstock Images via Getty Images
  /  02.11.2023

New details have emerged detailing former Memphis Officer Preston Hemphill’s involvement in Tyre Nichols’ Jan. 7 traffic stop. Documents submitted after a disciplinary hearing revealed that the SCORPION unit detective lied about witnessing Nichols driving recklessly, among other details, in his initial statements, reported local news station WREG on Thursday (Feb. 9).

It was also noted that Nichols was unarmed and did not provoke a physical or verbal altercation with law enforcement. Hemphill, who was among the first policemen on the scene, also falsely stated that the 29-year-old attempted to grab his partner’s weapon and fought them during an attempt to place him under arrest.

Bodycam footage of the encounter proved that the Bay Area native only attempted to flee the scene on foot before Hemphill deployed his taser. The former policeman was also heard saying, “I hope they stomp his a—.”

The beloved father was ultimately beaten by five other members of the SCORPION unit. He suffered severe injuries, which resulted in his death three days later. Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith were each fired and face multiple charges, including second-degree murder.

Last week, on Friday (Feb. 3), Hemphill was terminated after an internal investigation determined he violated multiple policies. Hemphill was departmentally charged with the following violations: personal conduct, truthfulness, compliance with regulations to wit: conducted energy weapon (taser), compliance with regulations to wit: uniforms (issued weapon), as well as inventory and processing recovered property.

“This is still an ongoing administrative investigation, and multiple MPD officers are under investigation for departmental policy violations,” said the department in a statement. At the request of Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis, the process to decertify the five officers involved in the beating has begun. If finalized, they would be ineligible for work as a police officer in the state.



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