White Memphis police officer arrested as sixth in Tyre Nichols' death
The death of 29-year-old Nichols remains under investigation after graphic video footage showed the victim repeatedly being punched and kicked while he calls out for his mother.
Memphis police confirmed the suspension of a sixth officer on Monday charged with the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, carried out by five other officers who were charged with second-degree murder last week.
In a statement, Memphis police spokesperson Kim Elder stated that Officer Preston Hemphill, who joined the police force in 2018 "was relieved of duty at the beginning of the investigation involving Tyre Nichols' death, with the other officers," and is suspended "pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation,"
Nichols' family found the decision to be "extremely disappointing", considering that he was not charged nor expelled from his job as an officer.
The death of 29-year-old African-American Tyre Nichols remains under investigation after graphic video footage released yesterday shows the victim repeatedly being punched and kicked while he calls out for his mother. As a result of the brutal beating, he succumbed to his severe wounds three days later and is due to be laid to rest on Wednesday.
The graphic footage, showing three police officers trying to handcuff Nichols after dragging him out of his car and throwing him against the ground, was released on Friday evening. He was shown to have escaped arrest in the first altercation, but police officers managed to catch up with him in a nearby neighborhood.
The second altercation, meanwhile, saw officers once again struggling to handcuff Nichols before they brutally kicked and beat him with a baton. One officer was shown to have punched Nichols several times in the head while two others were restraining him, holding his hands behind his back.
Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, lawyers for Nichols' family, stated that Hemphill tasered Nichols when the incident happened initially, but Hemphill's lawyer relayed to the Washington Post that he did not join the others in brutally beating the victim.
"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 attorneys said, adding, "The Memphis Police Department owes us all answers."
This also led the Memphis police department to disband the "Scorpion" unit on Saturday in which the six officers worked. The unit was founded in 2021 to focus on high-crime areas of the city in Tennessee.
January 28, 2023
Memphis PD said in a statement it was "in the best interest of all to permanently deactivate the SCORPION Unit." It further commented that "the officers currently assigned to the unit agree unreservedly with this next step."
After the video's release, US President Joe Biden came out with a statement, saying the incident was "yet another painful reminder of the profound fear and trauma, the pain, and the exhaustion that Black and Brown Americans experience every single day."
"We must do everything in our power to ensure our criminal justice system lives up to the promise of fair and impartial justice, equal treatment, and dignity for all. Real and lasting change will only come if we take action to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again," the US President added.
HAPPENING NOW:#Protesters and #Antifa vermin #attack #Police cars in #LosAngeles #LA for #TyreNichols #TyreNicholsVideo— HumanDilemma (@HumanDilemma_) January 28, 2023
LIVE: https://t.co/wiwOyLH1wW#Live #news #USA #protest #AntifaTerrorist #BLM #nocopcity #AbolishThePolice pic.twitter.com/hbIOQN4kqq
Small crowds of protesters gathered in various towns across the United States, from Memphis to the West coast. The incident also saw a return of discussions of abolishing the police, a liberal and leftist talking point in the US that perceives the police as a form of oppression and a force of evil.