Former Memphis Police officer seen tasing Tyre Nichols once encouraged to train others

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — FOX13 Investigates is taking a deep dive into personnel documents for one of the Memphis Police officers fired in the wake of Tyre Nichols’ death.

Preston Hemphill was the sixth officer fired and has not been charged with any crimes, but documents show he was seen as someone who could perhaps train other officers.

RELATED: Former officer shared photo of Tyre Nichols with five people after beating, new documents say

Hemphill was originally hired in 2018, and by July 2020 he was deemed to be well enough trained to work on his own.

In Oct. 2022, Hemphill was moved to the now-defunct SCORPION unit.

Among the documents FOX13 obtained was a performance evaluation from 2021.

Lieutenant A. King rated Hemphill in different categories.

On dealing with the public, King rated rates Hemphill as “meets job requirements,” writing that he is “polite” and “cordial.”.

RELATED: Sixth MPD officer fired in Tyre Nichols deadly arrest, police say

Hemphill was the officer caught on body camera video after tasing Nichols on Jan. 7, minutes before other officers beat the 29-year-old.

Documents also reveal Lt. King wrote Hemphill should be considered to fill the role of field training officer.

“They’re the ones who are going to be training the officers in really so many aspects of the job,” said Christopher Herrmann, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Law & Police Science at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

That means officers work shoulder to shoulder with officers fresh from the police academy to help translate lessons learned into street knowledge.

“That means they’re sharing their good habits as well as their bad habits,” Herrmann said.

Chris Magnus served as police chief in Tuscon, Az., Fargo, Nd. and Richmond, Ca. He also served as Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection from 2021 to 2022 after being nominated by President Joe R. Biden.

Magnus said he has also supervised field training officers.

He is now a senior public safety advisor at the Policing Project at New York University’s School of Law.

“How they are picked becomes really important looking for people with good judgment, decision making,” Magnus said. “A good process for picking FTOs should be you look at the disciplinary records.”

The training officer’s recommendation came after Hemphill had already gotten a written reprimand for damaging a handheld electronic in a 2019 incident.

Last year, Hemphill was given the same and instructed to undergo a driver’s training course after crashing a police cruiser.