Tuesday (Feb. 21) afternoon, Memphis’ chief legal officer, Jennifer Sink, revealed to local reporters that a fourth member of the Memphis Fire Department was under investigation in relation to the death of Tyre Nichols.
“The fourth fire personnel actually came [to the scene] much later and provided medical care and transported Mr. Nichols to the hospital,” Sink told reporters. “We have not come to a final decision as to the action against him.”
Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that the identity, rank and status of the fourth fire department employee has not been released.
Since the Jan. 7 brutal assault that left Nichols with injuries he could not overcome, a total of seven members of Memphis law enforcement, two emergency medical technicians, and a firefighter have been fired while the city continues its investigation into the moments that led to Nichols’ attack and the events that followed. The three former fire department employees have since appealed their firings.
“The city takes this situation very seriously,” Sink continued. “We are doing a very thorough investigation because we want to make sure that everybody understands what their role is and what the expectations are for them in a situation like this.”
“Some of them are minor players, and some of them are major players. But everybody had a role, and they’re expected to perform that role in accordance with policies or training and our expectations,” Sink added.
On Jan. 7, multiple officers repeatedly punched and kicked Nichols after he was pulled over for a traffic stop. After the assault, in which one of the now-former cops allegedly took a photo, first responders transported him to a hospital where he received care for his injuries. Three days later, Nichols passed away.
After bodycam footage of the incident was released, five members of law enforcement involved in Nichols’ death were charged with second-degree murder. On Feb. 17, the now-former cops — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III, and Desmond Mills Jr. — pleaded not guilty in Shelby County Criminal Court.
The city’s investigation has included 13 Memphis police officers and four Memphis Fire Department employees. In the city council meeting, Councilman JB Smiley asked Sink if anyone else was being investigated. “I can’t say if that’s it yet,” Sink responded. “We’re still conducting an investigation, and I think we’ll know better after we conclude these [administrative] hearings and finalize those [potential disciplinary] decisions.”