A former Memphis police officer among those charged with murdering Tyre Nichols allegedly beat up a jail inmate almost eight years ago, NBC News reports.
In 2015, Cordarlrius Sledge was serving a three-year sentence in the Shelby County Division of Corrections for aggravated assault when he alleged that two corrections officers accosted him because they found him with a cell phone, which was considered contraband.
Sledge filed a lawsuit in 2016 against the two corrections officers, one of whom Sledge alleged was Demetrius Haley.
Haley is one of the five ex-Memphis police officers accused of brutally beating Nichols, 29, during a traffic stop on January 7. Nichols died several days later from the injuries.
Sledge alleged that in the 2015 attack, Haley and another corrections officer entered his cellblock to conduct a search.
“When they came in to do one of their little random pop-in searches, they called me and two other guys to the shower area to be strip-searched,” Sledge, now 34, told NBC News. “They requested for me to be searched first.”
Sledge said that he attempted to run past the officers to get rid of the phone and that he did not threaten or harm the corrections officers, yet they began assaulting him.
“That’s when they started punching on me,” Sledge told NBC News. “They picked me up and slammed my head into the sink, and I blacked out.”
Following the incident, the corrections officers brought Sledge to the jail’s infirmary for medical care, and he allegedly received an apology from the warden.
Sledge subsequently sued, but in 2018, a judge dismissed the suit after finding that Sledge, who did not have a lawyer, improperly served court papers on one of the defendants.
Sledge told NBC News he hopes the police officers who beat Nichols are held accountable.
“I just hope that those officers get what they deserve and set an example for the rest of officers,” Sledge told NBC News.
Haley and the four other police officers – Tadarrius Bean, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith – have been fired and were booked into Shelby County’s jail on charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and official misconduct.
However, the officers were released on bond as of Friday morning ahead of the release of the bodycam footage from the beating, according to ABC24 Memphis.
Reflecting on Nichols’ death, Sledge told the New York Post that the same tragic outcome could have happened to him.
“That could have been me,” Sledge told the Post. “I could be dead.”
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[Feature Photo: Cordarlrius Sledge/MPD]