Tyre Nichols was brutally beaten by five Memphis police officers after a traffic stop on Jan. 7. Nichols died from his injuries three days later. The five cops, all of whom are Black, were later charged with his murder just a few weeks later. A white officer involved in the traffic stop, however, won’t be facing any legal repercussions.
Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy spoke today (May 2) about the investigation into Nichols’ death. He shared why his office chose not to press charges against former Memphis police officer Preston Hemphill. The ex-cop used his Taser on Nichols during the initial traffic stop, but wasn’t present when Nichols was detained a second time and suffered a bloody fate.
“By no means do we endorse the conduct of Officer Hemphill at that first traffic stop. But we do not believe that criminal charges are appropriate,” Mulroy declared, per NBC News. The decision came after they reviewed and analyzed body camera footage showing Hemphill using the stun gun because he saw Nichols moving toward a police car. “That had to bear weight on our evaluation of his decision,” he said. Watch the press conference below.
The choice was made after the DA’s office spoke with Nichols’ family and their attorney Ben Crump. They were in support of authorities not pressing charges against Hemphill.
“We understand that this individual has been fully cooperating with the investigation and has promised to provide substantial cooperation going forward. In light of this, we are supportive of no charges for this individual,” a statement from Crump read. “It is our deepest hope and expectation that justice will be served fully and that all who had a role to play in this senseless tragedy will be held accountable.”
The Memphis Police Department announced its decision to fire Hemphill on Feb. 3 and explained the reasoning behind doing so as seen below. He was ousted for personal misconduct, lying, misuse of police property like the Taser, and violating inventory and seized property protocol. He has yet to be barred from serving as a police officer in other jurisdictions.
— Memphis Police Dept (@MEM_PoliceDept) February 3, 2023
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