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7th Memphis officer disciplined, EMTs fired in Tyre Nichols death

Published:Tuesday | January 31, 2023 | 10:21 AM
A group of demonstrators gathered at dusk in Shelby Farms Park on Monday, January 30, 2023, in Memphis, Tennessee, in response to the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers. Nichols, who had a hobby in photography, frequented the park to photograph sunsets. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Two more Memphis police officers have been disciplined and three emergency responders fired in connection with the death of Tyre Nichols, officials said Monday, widening the circle of punishment for the shocking display of police brutality after video showed many more people failed to help him beyond the five officers accused of beating him to death.

Officer Preston Hemphill, who is white, was relieved of duty shortly after Nichols' January 7 arrest, the police department announced.

Later in the day, it said another officer had also been relieved, but without naming the person or specifying what role they played in the incident.

That brought the total number of Memphis officers who have been disciplined to seven, including the five Black officers who were fired and charged last week with second-degree murder and other offences in Nichols' beating and Jan. 10 death.

Also Monday, Memphis Fire Department officials announced the dismissal of emergency medical technicians Robert Long and JaMicheal Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker. The EMTs had previously been suspended.

Fire Chief Gina Sweat said in a statement that the department received a call from police to respond to a report of a person who had been pepper-sprayed. The workers arrived at 8:41 p.m. as Nichols was handcuffed on the ground and slumped against a squad car, the statement said.

Long and Sandridge, based on the nature of the call and information they were told by police, “failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols,” the statement said. Whitaker and the driver remained in the engine.

An ambulance was called, and it arrived at 8:55 p.m., the statement said.

An emergency unit cared for Nichols and left for a hospital with him at 9:08 p.m. — 27 minutes after Long, Sandridge and Whitaker arrived, officials said.

An investigation determined that all three violated “multiple” policies and protocols, the statement said, adding that “their actions or inactions on the scene that night do not meet the expectations of the Memphis Fire Department.”

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