Four of the five Memphis police officers fired from their jobs and charged with the killing of Tyre Nichols in January have now been barred from working in law enforcement in Tennessee.
The Peace Officer Standards & Training Commission met Thursday for hearings on the decertification of Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin, and Justin Smith. On Friday, the panel voted to revoke the three former officers’ certifications, according to the Associated Press. They also approved the decision of a fourth officer, Desmond Mills, to voluntarily surrender his certification.
The fifth officer charged with the Nichols’ death, Tadarrius Bean, has not yet had his decertification hearing. Hearings have also not been held for two other department employees fired but not charged — Officer Preston Hemphill and an unnamed employee of the department — or for Dewayne Smith, the supervising lieutenant who arrived on the scene after Nichols had been beaten, kicked, handcuffed, and then ignored by first responders. Smith was allowed to retire with full benefits before he could be fired.
Memphis police requested that the seven named officers be decertified.
Three fire department employees were also fired.
All five of the former officers charged with second degree murder have pleaded not guilty. None of the former officers or their attorneys attended the hearings on Thursday or the vote on Friday.
Mills’ attorney, Blake Ballin, said it was “a waste of time” and that his client was “focusing on his freedom” after being wrongly indicted.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Nichols died in the hospital two days after members of the Memphis Police Department’s Scorpion Unit — which has since been disbanded — stopped his car for an alleged traffic violation, dragged him out of the vehicle while screaming obscenities at him, tased him, and then chased him into a neighborhood when he tried to get away. There, the officers pummeled him repeatedly. sprayed pepper spray in his face, hit him with a baton, kicked him, and then cuffed him and leaned the barely conscious 29-year-old amateur photographer against a car while they congratulated themselves on the take down.
The entire incident was captured by a police camera on a pole above the scene as well as the officers’ body camera.
The decertified officers have 30 days to appeal.
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[Featured image: FILE – The screen at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans honors Tyre Nichols before an NBA basketball game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Washington Wizards on January 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton, File)]