Officer Preston Hemphill was removed from duty on the Memphis Police force for his participation in the death of Tyre Nichols. According to a Memphis police rep Karen Rudolph was removed from the force, but charges were not announced.
Rudolph also did not announce what role Hemphill played in the deadly beating.
29-year-old Nichols was pulled over by officers on Jan. 7 and died shortly after the encounter. Five Memphis police officers have been fired and charged with the murder.
The fired officers are Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith. They are all in Shelby County Jail for participating in the incident leading to Nichols’ death.
The Daily News notes Martin, Smith, and Bean received charges of second-degree murder, three counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, and one count of acting in concert to commit aggravated assault. Mills and Haley also received second-degree murder charges, along with two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression, and one count of acting in concert to commit aggravated assault.
“The breadth and the depth of the charges announced today speaks to the deliberate and thorough investigation this case has received,” Tennessee Bureau of Investigation director David Rausch said. “And our work is not finished. We continue to pursue every lead. Justice demands it.”
In response to Hemphill’s punishment, the sixth officer involved in the traffic stop that resulted in Tyre Nichols’ death had been ‘relieved of duty,’ nationally recognized civil rights and personal injury attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci issued a statement. Officer Preston Hemphill may be seen on camera aggressively removing Nichols from his car while using a Taser on him on the ground, later adding, “I hope they stomp his ass” as Nichols fled.
“The news today from Memphis officials that Officer Preston Hemphill was reportedly relieved of duty weeks ago, but not yet terminated or charged, is extremely disappointing. Why is his identity and the role he played in Tyre’s death just now coming to light? We have asked from the beginning that the Memphis Police Department be transparent with the family and the community – this news seems to indicate that they haven’t risen to the occasion. It certainly begs the question why the white officer involved in this brutal attack was shielded and protected from the public eye, and to date, from sufficient discipline and accountability. The Memphis Police Department owes us all answers.”
The family’s attorneys, Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci said in a separate joint statement detailing Nichols “suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating.”
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