Teen alleges beating by same police unit involved in Tyre Nichols’ death

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — More fallout from the beating death of Tyre Nichols as a teenager comes forward and says he, too, was beaten by members of the shuttered SCORPION unit involved in Nichols’ death.

His attorney said the world needs to hear his story.

The teenager tells a frightening story of being stopped by what he says he thought, at the time, were masked men. He said before the Tyre Nichols coverage, he could not recall the names and faces of the officers involved in his arrest.

“It could have been me that was dead. I was fearing for my life,” said Maurice Chalmers-Stokes, 19, who did not want his face shown on television because of fears of retaliation.

He recounted what he called a nightmare encounter with three of the five officers who have been charged, Demetrius Haley, Tadarrius Bean, and Desmond Mills, and one other, Preston Hemphill, who left him bloodied and bruised.

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Hemphill has been relieved of duty, akin to administrative leave, amid the ongoing investigation.

The men were members of the now-defunct SCORPION unit at the center of Nichols’ death.

“Only thing about it is they didn’t get a chance to beat me,” Chalmers-Stokes said, sitting with his attorney Andre Wharton.

Chalmers-Stokes said it all started Oct. 1, 2021, when he said he had been walking near the intersection of University Street and Chelsea Avenue in North Memphis.

He said he saw three unmarked cars and that one of the men inside was wearing a ski mask.

“They hopped out and bum-rushed me,” said Chalmers-Stokes. “They were like, ‘Let me check your backpack.’”

What happened next is a blur of fear and confusion, he alleges; as he ran, he was grabbed by his backpack and thrown into a fence; one of the officers hit him with their car before he attained what his attorney said is the result of what happened next.

“I hit my head on a brick, he tackled me and cut my head open,” Chalmers-Stokes said. “…[H]e acted like he was going to punch me,” before he said another officer intervened and told him not to do so because he had already been detained and handcuffed.

“Very often, what you have in these specialized units, is they’re not following their own policies,” said Wharton

Wharton likened Chalmers-Stokes to Nichols, saying both men are slight in build.

“I think they pick on folks of a certain size [that] they know they can rough up,” Chalmers-Stokes said.

Chalmers-Stokes faces charges of evading arrest, charges related to being found with a stolen gun, and property theft, a combination of misdemeanors and felonies.

Attempts to reach Chalmers-Stokes’ criminal defense attorney were unsuccessful.

A spokesperson for the office of Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy did not respond to questions if the office was considering dropping Chalmers-Stokes’ charges because of what has come to light after the officers were charged in Nichols’ death.