Memphis cop Preston Hemphill fired for role in Tyre Nichols’ death

Memphis cop Preston Hemphill fired for role in Tyre Nichols' death

A sixth Memphis Police officer has been fired for his role in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols.

The department announced Friday that Preston Hemphill had been terminated from the department after an administrative investigation found that he “violated multiple department policies” during Nichols’ Jan. 7 arrest.

Hemphill violated the department’s policies regarding: personal conduct, truthfulness, compliance with Taser regulations, compliance with uniform regulations and inventory and processing recovered property.

He had been a member of the police force since 2018.

“I can confirm that … Officer Hemphill’s employment was terminated with the Memphis Police Department. Though we find this decision regrettable, Preston Hemphill will continue to cooperate with authorities in the investigation into the death of Tyre Nichols,” Hemphill’s attorney, Lee Gerald, told WMC.

Gerald confirmed earlier this week that his client was the white officer whose body camera video from the deadly traffic stop was released by Memphis police.

Hemphill was seen firing a stun gun at Nichols as he fled from police in his first altercation with police following the initial traffic stop. He was not at the second scene where five black cops brutally beat the 29-year-old black FedEx worker with punches, kicks, and baton strikes.

still of Tyre Nichols during arrest
Hemphill was seen in bodycam footage firing a stun gun at Nichols as he fled from police.
City of Memphis

Nichols died from his injuries three days later.

Hemphill has not yet been charged with a crime. 

Memphis police said that the investigation is ongoing and “multiple” other officers remain under investigation for department policy violations in the incident.

Former Memphis cops Tadarrius Bean, 24, Demetrius Haley, 30, Emmitt Martin III, 30, Desmond Mills Jr., 32, and Justin Smith, 28, were all fired on Jan. 20 after an internal probe found they had used excessive force and failed in their duties to render aid during Nichols’ arrest.

They were each charged with second-degree murder, two counts of official misconduct, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, one count of official oppression, and one count of aggravated assault.

The Memphis Fire Department also dismissed emergency medical technicians Robert Long and JaMicheal Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker this week for failing “to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols,” while he was bloodied and handcuffed sitting against a police car.

Additionally, two Shelby County deputies have been relieved of their duties without pay, Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. announced last Friday.

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