MEMPHIS, Tenn. — FOX13 Investigates is continuing to dig into paperwork Memphis Police used to fire five officers implicated in the beating death of Tyre Nichols.
The documents, sent to the state commission that certifies officers, provide details about what happened the night of Jan. 7.
Administrative charges, brought against the officers, detail accusations of a range of policy violations, including those on excessive use of force and taking off body cameras.
The charges were used to substantiate their firings.
They were then sent to the Tennessee Peace Officer Training and Standards Commission, or POST, asking the body to keep the fired officers from working as police in the state again.
Demetrius Haley, the documents show, admitted to taking photos of Nichols battered and bloodied face and sending a photo to a “civilian employee” of the department, two “MPD officers and a “female acquaintance.”
Another person, not named in the documents, was discovered later.
The documents allege Demetrius Haley and Emmitt Martin denied a request by paramedics to remove Nichols’ handcuffs after he fell over. They also corroborate discrepancies between what officers reported happened — that Nichols had reached for one of their guns — though MPD said it found no video evidence of that.
At some point, the paperwork says, Desmond Mills and an unnamed “supervisor” left the scene to talk to Nichols’ mom, but, MPD said, they “refused to provide an accurate account of her son’s encounter with the police or his condition” and did not take her contact information.
The head of the Memphis Police Association, the city’s police union, attended each of the officers’ administrative hearings.
In each case, Essica Cage-Rosario read a written statement that was included in the record.
The letter states that according to a memorandum of understanding, each of the men was not given enough time to review the accusations against him, that the file was not complete, and that there were what she called “gross violations” of their due process.
The letter also cites a 1997 case in which the City of Memphis was sued because former Mayor Willie Herenton “predetermined” the outcome of a hearing and there was no due process.
The documents also repeatedly reference cell phone video from a civilian at the scene. That video and more evidence has not been released, but a city attorney said that could happen as soon as next week.
A sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, was also fired but, unlike the first five officers to be terminated, had not been criminally charged in Nichols’ death at the time this article was published.
Hemphill’s decertification document, obtained by FOX13, outlines the aggression the former officer can be seen showing during his attempted arrest of Nichols.
“During a confrontation while on top of the subject, audio from a body-worn camera captured you using the assaultive statement, ‘Get on the (expletive) ground. Finna tase yo (expletive)!’ The subject was not using profanity or showed signs of violence toward you. The subject ran away from officers on foot down Ross. A second set of officers caught the subject at a different location while you remained with the vehicle. You can be heard on body camera telling your partner, ‘I hope they stop his (expletive)!’ Digital evidence of your actions will shed a negative light on the Memphis Police Department. Your behavior was unprofessional and unbecoming of a sworn public servant.”
The document states that Hemphill was charged with several Memphis Police Department policies including personal conduct, compliance with regulations regarding weapons, truthfulness, compliance with regulations regarding uniforms and inventory and processing recovered property.
Regarding the use of his taser, the decertification document said, in part, “You deployed your taser for three seconds while the subject was on his feet and in running motion from you. The subject was not armed, and did not impose an immediate threat to you or others...You put everyone involved at risk of serious bodily injuries due to oncoming traffic.”
The document also questions Hemphill’s truthfulness in the attempted arrest, saying “In your statement, you said the subject attempted to grab your partner’s duty weapon. There is no video footage to corroborate that statement. You then provided a conflicting statement to I.S.B. investigators and said you did not see the subject grab your partner’s gun. You also said the subject fought you and your partner. Video evidence show the subject running away from you while you attempted to grab him... Your statements were inconsistent and untruthful, and you documented false statements.”
Those records go on to say that Hemphill did not have his city-issued handcuffs with his during the attempted arrest, but, upon inspection, he did provide two sets of handcuffs that he personally owned.
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