Sixth Memphis officer fired after Tyre Nichols' death

An additional Memphis police officer has been fired after the death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man who died after he was beaten by officers last month, police said Friday.

Officer Preston Hemphill, who had been relieved of duty, was “departmentally charged and terminated” for violations that include personal conduct, truthfulness and violating rules regarding a Taser stun device, police said in a statement.

Departmental charges are not the same as criminal charges, and he has not been charged with a crime, police said.

Five other Memphis police officers were fired and criminally charged with second-degree murder and other counts after the aggressive traffic stop and later beating of Nichols on Jan. 7.

Police said in Friday's statement that an administrative investigation is underway, and “multiple MPD officers are under investigation for departmental policy violations.”


Hemphill's attorney said Monday that Hemphill was at the scene of the traffic stop, but was never present at the later scene where Nichols was seen on video being punched, struck with a baton, and otherwise abused.

Hemphill was hired by Memphis police in March 2018, the police department said.

Nichols was hospitalized and died three days later.

Seven Memphis police officers, including the five officers criminally charged and Hemphill, have been relieved of duty following the deadly encounter. Six of them have been fired.

This week, three Memphis EMTs who responded to the incident were fired after an internal investigation, the Memphis Fire Department said.

On Friday, a Tennessee Department of Health board suspended the licenses of two of the fired personnel — Robert Long and JaMichael Sandridge — for failing to render emergency care and treatment to Nichols for about 19 minutes after arriving at the scene, according to the order documents. The investigation is ongoing, a spokesperson for the health department said.

Videos of the police stop and beating of Nichols shocked and horrified people across the nation. FBI Director Christopher Wray said he was "appalled," and President Joe Biden said he was outraged and he called the video horrific.

CORRECTION (Feb. 4, 2023, 1 p.m.): A previous version of this article misspelled the first name of the FBI director. He is Christopher Wray, not Christoper.

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