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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Details emerge about beating of Tyre Nichols

By Jordan Hum | Copy Editor

Protesters march Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn., over the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

   On Feb. 7, new reports from the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission show that Demetrius Haley, one of the five officers involved in the beating of Tyre Nichols on Jan. 7, took and shared pictures of the bloodied victim. According to the reports, the photos were sent to other officers and a female acquaintance. 

   Haley was one of five officers charged in the Memphis incident, in which Nichols, a 29-year-old African-American man, was brutally beaten during a traffic stop. He passed away in a Memphis hospital on Jan. 10.

      On Feb. 3, Preston Hemphill, the sixth officer involved in the incident, was fired for violating policies that relate to personal conduct, truthfulness, and compliance with various regulations, according to the Memphis Police Department.

   Nichols was pulled over for what Memphis police claim was reckless driving. However, Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said they “have not been able to substantiate” the initial reckless driving report.

   After being dragged out of his car, held down, and pepper sprayed during the initial traffic stop, Nichols attempted to flee on foot.

   According to ABC News, body cam footage during this confrontation shows that “in the span of 60 seconds, the officers give Nichols at least 20 commands, sometimes simultaneously, threatening him at least six times.”

   In the video from the first confrontation, Nichols can be heard telling the officers “I’m just trying to get home.”

   After attempting to run to his mother’s house five miles away, Nichols was tackled to the ground by an officer. Surveillance footage from the second intersection and body cam footage shows two officers holding him to the ground, a third officer kicking him in the face, a fourth officer striking him with a baton, and a fifth officer pepper spraying him as Nichols repeatedly called for his mother, according to CBS News. 

   Three days later, Nichols “succumbed to his injuries,” according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, although an official cause of death has not been released. 

   The five officers involved were Haley, Tadarrius Bean, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith- all of whom are African-American. All five officers were fired on Jan. 20 and are facing several criminal charges including second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression after being indicted by a grand jury on Jan. 26.

     During a video statement released on Jan. 25, Davis called the incident a “professional failing” and said “the incident was heinous, reckless and inhumane.”

   Additionally, three members of the Memphis Fire Department at the scene were fired for “violating numerous policies and protocols,” according to CBS News.

   The five officers charged were all members of the Memphis Police Department SCORPION unit, which was created with a narrow focus on fighting street crime. The unit had been inactive since the incident and permanently disbanded on Jan. 28. 

   Protests have broken out across the U.S. following the death of Nichols, with demonstrators leading marches against police brutality in major cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. 

   Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, asks for the protests to remain peaceful.

    “I don’t want us burning up cities, tearing up our streets, because that’s not what my son stood for,” stated Wells. 

  Nichols was the father of a four-year-old son and had been described by family as “joyful and spiritual,” according to CBS News. Nichols was a FedEx worker at the time of his death and was also an avid skateboarder and photographer. 

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Details emerge about beating of Tyre Nichols