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Fallout from the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols includes a sixth Memphis officer removed from duties as calls mount for criminal charges against more officers — and police reform nationwide.
Officer Preston Hemphill was part of the force’s now-disbanded SCORPION unit, a source familiar with his assignment confirmed to CNN. He “was relieved of duty with the other officers,” Memphis police Maj. Karen Rudolph said Monday.
Hemphill was put on leave at the start of the investigation into the brutal, two-part traffic stop on January 7, said police spokesperson Kimberly Elder, who declined to say whether he’s being paid or any other officers were put on leave.
Hemphill was the third officer at the initial stop of Nichols, the officer’s attorney said, noting, “He was never present at the second scene” and is cooperating with the investigation. Hemphill activated his body-worn camera, per department policy, and his footage was among videos released Friday by Memphis police, Lee Gerald added.
The official response to Nichols’ fatal police beating has been relatively swift: Five Black officers involved were fired and charged with murder and kidnapping, and their SCORPION unit was nixed for good. And new details of the case are emerging amid broader public scrutiny of how US police use force, especially against people of color.
Among the key questions still unresolved in the Nichols case:
• If more consequences — including charges — are coming for officers: Why more officers who were at the Nichols beating scene have not been disciplined or suspended is a key concern of City Council member Frank Colvett, he said Sunday.
Whether Hemphill or others will face criminal charges also isn’t clear. “We are looking at all of the officers and first responders at the scene,” Shelby County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Erica Williams said Monday. “They could face charges, or they could not, but we are looking at everyone.”
It was “unprecedented” for indictment charges against the officers to come within just weeks, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told CNN on Sunday.
• How Memphis’ police chief will fare: While some have praised Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis‘ swift action in the case, she also created the controversial SCORPION unit the charged officers were linked to. “There is a reckoning coming for the police department and for the leadership,” Colvett said. “She’s going to have to answer not just to the council but to the citizens — and really the world.”
• What happens to fire and sheriff’s personnel: Two Memphis Fire Department employees who were part of Nichols’ initial care were relieved of duty, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. And two deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office have been put on leave pending an investigation.
• If Nichols’ death spurs national-level police reform: The Congressional Black Caucus has asked for a meeting with President Joe Biden this week to push for negotiations on police reform.
Officials knew releasing video footage of Nichols’ beating without filing charges against the officers could be “incendiary,” Mulroy said. “The best solution was to expedite the investigation and to expedite the consideration of charges so that the charges could come first and then the release of the video.”
Footage of the fatal encounter is difficult to watch. It starts with a traffic stop and later shows officers repeatedly beating Nichols with batons, punching him and kicking him — even as his hands are restrained behind his back at one point.
Horrific video shows 5 Memphis cops kicking Tyre Nichols in the head, hammering him with a baton, raining punches down, pepper spraying & tazing him as he screams 'mom, mom' just yards from her home
Tyre Nichols after being beaten by Memphis cops – screenshot
Let’s be clear, the five former Black Memphis police officers got everything they deserved for beating Tyre Nichols to a pulp. They were fired and charged with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression, and one count of aggravated assault.
It didn’t take a gruesome, horrid, hideous video of Nichol’s murder to convince anyone with a speck of human decency that the cops didn’t step over the line between lawful policing and pure naked, unabashed thuggery. They obliterated the line. Memphis police and city officials pressed for prosecution. They should be commended. They set a potential template for how other city and police officials should quickly act on wanton police violence against civilians.
However, here’s the tormenting question that dangles heavily in the air in the wake of the tape and the murder.
What if five white cops had beaten Nichols to a pulp? Nichols family attorney Benjamin Crump lightly raised that question. He was far from alone.
I asked it, and many other Blacks asked the same question. Just one week before Nichol’s murder, a videotape was released that showed a swarm of white and non-Black Los Angeles PD officers manhandling, and repeatedly tasing Keenan Anderson on the ground. Anderson like Nichols was a young African American male and cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrice Cullers. Anderson died later of cardiac arrest that resulted directly from the repeated tasing.
LAPD bodycam of Keenan Anderson tasing
Now contrast this. The L.A. Police Protective League did not issue an angry statement blasting the cops in the Anderson death. It apparently saw nothing inappropriate in their use of force against Anderson. However, in a public statement, that same police group lambasted the five former Memphis officers for allegedly violating all the canons of lawful police work.
Memphis top cop warns fatal traffic stop beating of Tyre Nichols by five 'amped up' cops was 'worse than Rodney King' - and he wasn't driving recklessly
The Memphis Police Department has released harrowing bodycam footage of five police officers fatally beating Tyre Nichols following a traffic stop for purported reckless driving.
The video released on Friday night shows Nichols, 29, crying out for his mother multiple times during the brutal January 7 assault, which took place just a few blocks from his home.
'Mom! Mom!' screams Nichols as he is pinned to the ground by multiple officers, pepper sprayed in the face, kicked and punched in the head, and struck with a metal baton.
The video shows police rained at least nine blows down on the FedEx worker while screaming profanities throughout the nearly four-minute altercation.
Even after paramedics arrived, a handcuffed Nichols remained slumped over on the pavement for nearly half an hour without significant medical intervention.
All five officers involved in the killing were charged with second-degree murder, with the district attorney saying that though they all played different roles, 'they are all responsible.'
Still, police across the nation were bracing for potential violent unrest as protesters gathered to voice outrage in response to the graphic and highly disturbing footage.
WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE AND DISTURBING CONTENT
The Memphis Police Chief has warned that footage of five officers beating Tyre Nichols to death is worse than that of Rodney King.
King was brutally attacked by LAPD officers in 1991, with their acquittal the following year sparking one of the worst race riots in US history.
Tyre, 29, died in hospital on January 10, three days after five officers viciously beat him during a traffic stop.
Footage of the incident will be uploaded to YouTube by the police department at 7pm EST - with actions being taken amid fears of violent protests.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said the footage is the worst she has witnessed in her career.
'We are going to see acts that defy humanity, a disregard for life, duty of care and a level of physical interaction that is above and beyond what is required in law enforcement,' she said Friday morning.
Tyre Nichols is pictured in hospital after the incident. The 29-year-old from Memphis died on January 10 from cardiac arrest and kidney failure, three days after he was pulled over for reckless driving by police in unmarked cars
TOP L-R: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III. BOTTOM L-R: Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith
The footage will be uploaded onto YouTube by the police department at 7pm EST - with actions being taken to prepare for violent protests.
Four of the five Memphis Police officers charged in the death of Tyre have been released on a combined $1million bond after being arrested yesterday.
Justin Smith, Desmond Mills Jr, Emmitt Martin III and Tadarrius Bean have all now been released from Shelby County Jail, according to court records.
A fifth office, Demetrius Haley is still in jail with a $350,000 bond, with all five charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct, and official oppression.
Shelby County District attorney Steve Mutlroy said Tyre was left bloody and bruised after he was pepper sprayed and beaten just yards from his home.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation conducted an independent investigation into the use of force by Memphis cops.
All five were fired last Friday for violation of police, with City officials saying they were notified on January 15.
Davis said that the cops were 'amped up' when they stopped him, with two of the officers being part of a special team to stop street crime.
Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis said that the video of the attack on Nichol's was the worst of her career.
Tyre Nichols, 29, died in hospital on January 10, three days after a traffic stop that ended with him being severely injured
Davis told CNN that the video of the attack left her 'outraged' and that the level of violence was 'incomprehensible' to her.
She added: 'I'm sure that individuals watching will feel what the family felt. And if you don't, then you're not a human being.
'I would say it is about the same if not worse than the 1991 beating of Rodney King. A group think mentality.'
The police chief added that there is 'no proof' that Tyre was driving recklessly when he was pulled over - with cops failing to substantiate claims that he was.
The Police Chief added that she heard Tyre call out for his mother in the video, which will be released later on today.
Five former Memphis police officers have been charged with second-degree murder and other crimes in the arrest and death of Tyre Nichols
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump speaks at a news conference with the family of Tyre Nichols on Thursday
Tyre's family has hired civil rights attorney Ben Crump to represent them, and also compared the beating of the FedEx worker to that of Rodney King.
Speaking to CNN, his mother Row Vaughn Wells said that her son was 'beat like a pinata'.
She said: 'Yes, he cried out for me, because I'm his mother. He was trying to get home to safety. He was a mamma's boy
'He loves me to death. He has my name tattooed on his arm. He had Chron's disease, and he had surgery in 2013.
'I told my husband my stomach is hurting so bad, and once I found out what happened, it was just the fact that I was feeling my son's pain
'I was feeling my son's pain as they were beating him to death. They brought shame to their own families. They brought shame to the black community.
'I don't hate anybody. That's not in my nature, I just feel sorry for them because they did something horrendous.'
She also told Don Lemon that she was unable to watch the footage, leaving Tyre's father Rodney RowVaugh Wells to witness the 'horrific' footage.
The family has set up a GoFundMe in Tyre's name to help raise money for his funeral and case.
RowVaughn Wells said that her son was 'beat like a pinata' by the officers who dragged him out of his car
People attend a candlelight vigil in memory of Tyre Nichols at the Tobey Skate Park on January 26 in Memphis
Tyre was reportedly able to get away from the officers after the initial stop, but they found him again at another location, with Davis adding: 'There was an amount of aggression that was unexplainable.'
However, Davis said she does not believe that the incident was 'racist' - adding that it 'takes of the table that issues and problems in law enforcement is about race.'
She went on: 'It is about human dignity, integrity, accountability and the duty to protect. As this video will show - it doesn't matter whose wearing the uniform.'
Memphis Police confirmed that they planned to release the video late on Friday to avoid any 'peaceful protest' disruptions to members of the community.
The daughter of Rodney King, who was beaten by LAPD officers in 1991 has warned Tyre's family that they will be in for a 'world of hurt' once the footage is made public.
Lora King told TMZ that the whole thing would be playing 'on a loop' in their heads after seeing the footage.
She was only seven when her father was attacked, with the police brutality sparking riots when the officers involved were acquitted.
Dozens of people peacefully paid tribute to the murdered Fed-Ex worker, with police gearing up to deal with potential violence after footage of the incident is released
Lora warned that there is 'no way to be normal' after the video is released later on Friday evening.
A year after the rioting in LA, four officers stood trial in federal court on civil rights charges, with two being acquitted and two found guilty.
They were sentenced to 30 months in prison, with King also suing the city of Los Angeles and was awarded $3.8 million in damages.
David Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, described the video as 'absolutely appalling.'
He said: 'Let me be clear: What happened here does not at all reflect proper policing. This was wrong, and this was criminal.'
In addition to the five officers charged Thursday, Davis said in the statement that other officers also are under investigation.
Two Memphis Fire Department personnel also have been relieved of duty pending an investigation.
President Biden has also called for calm ahead of the release of the video – adding: 'Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable.'
He said: 'As Americans grieve, the Department of Justice conducts its investigation, and state authorities continue their work, I join Tyre's family in calling for peaceful protest.
President Biden urged for calm before the video release, saying: 'Violence is destructive and against the law. It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice'
In addition to the five officers charged Thursday, Davis said in the statement that other officers also are under investigation
Tyre's parents attended a candlelight vigil for their son on January 26 ahead of a video being released on January 27
'Violence is destructive and against the law. It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice.'
'Tyre's death is a painful reminder that we must do more to ensure that our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all.
'We also cannot ignore the fact that fatal encounters with law enforcement have disparately impacted Black and Brown people.'
Schools in Memphis are canceling all after-school activities in the 'interest of public safety' with a showcase being postponed for a week because of the footage release.
It comes as major US cities are bracing for possible violence after the release of the footage, with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp calling in the National Guard in a state of emergency in Atlanta.
He has called in 1,000 troops to be called up in an attempt to prevent the unrest and chaos that took place in last week's riots – and could be even more extreme following the release of the graphic footage.
Capitol Police officials are also beefing up security on the Hill amid heightened concerns over the release of the video
She also told Don Lemon that she was unable to watch the footage, leaving Tyre's father Rodney RowVaugh Wells to witness the 'horrific' footage
The order said the state of emergency was declared because of 'unlawful assemblage, violence, overt threats of violence, disruption of the peace and tranquillity of this state and danger existing to persons and property.'
Protestors took to the streets of Atlanta after the death of activist Manuel Terna, 26, who was shot and killed by Georgia State Patrol after allegedly shooting a state trooper who was trying to clear protesters from the area.
Authorities were trying to clear the construction site of a new $90million public safety training center dubbed 'Cop City' which has come under fierce opposition from demonstrators.
Police departments in Austin, LA, and Washington are all preparing for possible unrest after the release of the footage.
Austin cops are monitoring the situation and will be 'will be moving into tactical alert status beginning Friday morning'.
The NYPD also confirmed that they are monitoring the situation in Memphis.
Capitol Police officials are also beefing up security on the Hill amid heightened concerns over the release of the video.
Workers were spotted on Thursday evening unloading fencing near the Capitol – which are usually used for crowd control.
This should not have happened..
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Robert I thought it has to be something personal, if it wasn't a wife, go to friend it has to be a sister or a personal beef, because one of the f***** was do anxious to k*** him out with one punch, he kept saying hold him up even though Tyre was already messed up and coming stand up, it's always the situation with those faggots, I have no respect for the b****** who lay with cops, I hope they burn in hell.
Tyrone you may think its a bad think but Tyre is truly the sacrifice to show the truth that every one has been supported for a long time. Every time its white cops people raised he'll, but never asked how come the black cops never stoop up against the none sense going on, but the white cops always stand up for their own like when they put in their resignation for that racist cop that killed George Floyd, many don't realize its a culture, the negros couldn't wait to impress the white cops in the force. The democratic congress that every negros are loyal to are lawmakers, they are quick to pass laws for gays and transgenders, they are quick to pass laws for Jewish and their holocaust survivors but when it comes to police reform or anything else that involves black people they are so many excuses why they cant do it, their first big excuse would be the republicans, but they get to pass all those laws without republicans and brag about it too. That is why i had to free my self and became an independent instead if sounding like a slave with that democrat nonsense.
If they value black people look how easy it was for them to form a committee to investigate Trump for Jan 6, how come they cannot form a committee to investigate the police force across the Nation, the police are funded by the federal government, when Tyre was being beaten there were to police chief on the scene, one white cops was pacing around and the other taxes him, it's a culture. Al Sharpton is going to make the same fancy speech, Biden, Pelosi and Schumer are going to tell you trust in the system and nothing will happen, they won't give you anything unless it 8nvolves gays and jews and they are not having that police brutality problem, watch they got make a lot of noise because they realize they are losing a lot or black voters, some people are waking up and realize the democrats don't give a damn about black, the same slave who are making excuses why they can't support independent, they love the democrats and their best excuse is the Republicans, negros make republicans more important than any one else, so trust and believe, the family is going to get a check, they will get a pad in the back by the politicians like all the rest and than the cops will do it again. Police reform is not that hard to pass, but because negros are dumb and trust in white people the democrats jeep telling them why its so hard and they believe it, just like the slave bible.
@Vaughn Mitchell.....you couldn't have said it any better. These 5 idiots just messed it up for any decent black cop out there trying to do right. Look, these idiots know they wearing body cams, which will do one of two things, either vindicate or convict. In this case, the body cams will convict these idiots. See, they haven't learned, that what a white cop can do and might get away with it, the black ones can't. And to make matters worse, it wasn't like the guy committed a homicide or something really bad. They took it way too far and now that man is dead, and their lives are ruined. Foolish men!!!!
If the cops were white the video would not have been shown, just like the white cops that beat the s*** out of the black man in Louisiana, and one of the cops committed suicide, on the video cam, one of the cops were saying we beat the s*** out of him. The cops reported he crashed his car, the Governor, saw the video , the head of the state police saw the video, and the feds did nothing. These stupid 5 dumb ass black cops think they were going to get away with murder, wrong they are going to use these 5 , as an example . These 5 idiots must think they are white. They did this to an innocent black man fearing for his life, with all the s*** black men have to deal with now we have to treat the black cops like the white ones. It's dad when we tell our kids become cops so we won't think you will kill us like white cops do, and these idiots did just that.
Police officers who commit acts of brutality are cowards. The pressure on these thugs will only increase with time and I will not be surprised if one of these guys choose the cowardly act and put a gun to his head. Karma is a b****.
And those who have been bragging about their negro cops get to witness what niggers are, name when the last time any black cops stood up against injustice by white cops in the black community, name one black politician who have make any changes in the system for black people, name the bill and what exactly does it support and where? Negros in law enforcement and politicians are there to take orders from white politicians and serve white people. It's bad enough when you are watching white cops abusing an innocent black person, but hurts even more to watch a gang of negros brutalising an innocent black people even though he was not a threat, niggers are the worse thing ever happened to black people, and niggers support niggers just those who supports those negro politicians and those sell out negros like Al Sharpton, hateful noggers are the same threat to black people as white supremacist, I will always hate niggers, it's easy to know a n***** of you ate paying attention, they will always be against you if you don't agree with them or not doing the same thing they are doing, that community is doomed.
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