Justice Department announces review of Memphis Police Department in wake of Tire Nichols death, as cops prepare to release 20 hours of additional footage
- Nichols died after being punched and kicked by Memphis police officers on January 7.
- Five have been charged with second-degree murder and seven have been fired
- Memphis police will release audio recordings and more video footage today
The Justice Department announced that it is reviewing the Memphis Police Department in light of the death of Tire Nichols, an unarmed black man who died in January after being kicked and punched by five police officers.
The DoJ’s Office of Community Oriented Vigilante Services will conduct a review of the department’s practices and make appropriate recommendations.
“In the wake of the tragic death of Tire Nichols, the Department of Justice has heard from police chiefs across the country who are evaluating the use of specialized units and, when used, proper management, supervision, and accountability for such units,” said the Deputy Attorney General. Vanita Gupta.
Nichols, an unarmed black man, died after he was kicked and punched by Memphis police officers in January.
Wednesday’s announcement comes as the Memphis Police Department prepares to release an additional 20 hours of footage from the aftermath of Nichols’ arrest.
The new files are expected to contain audio of what was said after Nichols was taken to the hospital and in the ambulance.
The officers waited 19 minutes before alerting EMS on January 7. The five officers involved, all from the Scorpion unit, claim they were arresting Nichols on suspicion of reckless driving.
Those five officers have been criminally charged with second degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression.
Two other police officers were also fired, including one whose dismissal was announced yesterday.
That officer has yet to be named.
From the top row from left to right, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, from the bottom row from left to right, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith. All have been charged in Nichols’ death.
Preston Hemphill was the sixth officer to lose his job.
He has not been criminally charged, but was fired after an internal investigation found he violated several department policies, including personal conduct, truthfulness and inappropriate use of his Taser.
His father defended him to DailyMail.com, claiming that he and the other accused police officers were just doing their job.
“I agree, it looks bad, but those five officers at the end are doing what they’re supposed to do, they’re doing what they’re trained to do,” the father, Robert Hemphill, told DailyMail.com. .
The five accused police officers pleaded not guilty in court last month.