Prosecutors Weighing Charges Against More People In Tyre Nichols' Death
By Lydia O'Connor,2023-01-30
The district attorney’s office overseeing charges in the death of Tyre Nichols confirmed Monday that it may seek to hold more Memphis, Tennessee, personnel responsible in the young Black man’s death.
An investigation is ongoing, and the murder charges against the five officers who beat Nichols during a traffic stop “do not preclude us from adding additional charges as more information is presented,” Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy’s office said in a statement.
People of interest include various employees of the police and fire departments.
“We are looking at all individuals involved in the events leading up to, during, and after the beating of Tyre Nichols. This includes the officer present at the initial encounter who has not— so far—been charged, Memphis Fire Department personnel, and persons who participated in preparing documentation of the incident afterward,” the statement said.
A sixth Memphis police officer, Preston Hemphill, was suspended Monday pending an investigation, the department said. Hemphill was with the five other officers ― Desmond Mills, Justin Smith, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley and Emmitt Martin ― when they stopped Nichols on Jan. 7. All five are facing charges of second-degree murder and aggravated assault.
Shortly after the district attorney’s announcement, the Memphis Fire Department said it had fired three employees after an investigation determined they had “violated numerous MFD Policies and Protocols” while responding to Nichols’ deadly arrest.
Mulroy’s office asked that people eager for updates on the case give it more time to complete an investigation.
“Our goal remains the same: to seek justice for Tyre Nichols and hold all who contributed to his death accountable. We ask for the public’s patience as the investigation continues,” the statement said.
Outrage over Nichols’ death has exploded in recent days after the Memphis Police Department released disturbing body-camera footage showing officers beating and pepper-spraying the unarmed, 29-year-old father. In some of the videos, Nichols can be heard shouting “I didn’t do anything” as officers approached him with guns pointed at him and made several threats. “Bitch, put your hands behind your back before I break you,” one officer is heard telling Nichols. Another says he’s going to knock Nichols “the fuck out.”
Nichols then fled the scene because he feared for his life, his family said after the incident. When officers caught up with him, he told them he was experiencing “shortness of breath.” Though officials have not disclosed Nichols’ cause of death, his family said he suffered from cardiac arrest and kidney failure.
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