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Sixth Memphis officer fired after Tyre Nichols’ death

Officer Preston Hemphill was at the scene of the initial aggressive traffic stop but not at the violent beating that occurred later, his attorney has said.

An additional Memphis police officer has been fired after the death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man who died after he was beaten by officers last month, police said Friday.

Officer Preston Hemphill, who had been relieved of duty, was “departmentally charged and terminated” for violations that include personal conduct, truthfulness and violating rules regarding a Taser stun device, police said in a statement.

Memphis Police Officer Preston Hemphill.
Memphis Police Officer Preston Hemphill.Memphis Police Dept via Twitter

Departmental charges are not the same as criminal charges, and he has not been charged with a crime, police said.

Five other Memphis police officers were fired and criminally charged with second-degree murder and other counts after the aggressive traffic stop and later beating of Nichols on Jan. 7.

Police said in Friday’s statement that an administrative investigation is underway, and “multiple MPD officers are under investigation for departmental policy violations.”

This week, three Memphis EMTs who responded to the incident were fired after an internal investigation, the Memphis Fire Department said.

Hemphill’s attorney said Monday that Hemphill was at the scene of the traffic stop, but was never present at the later scene where Nichols was seen on video being punched, struck with a baton, and otherwise abused.

Nichols was hospitalized and died three days later.

Seven Memphis police officers, including the five officers criminally charged and Hemphill, have been relieved of duty following the deadly encounter. Six of them have been fired.

Hemphill was hired by Memphis police in March 2018, the police department said.

Videos of the police stop and beating of Nichols shocked and horrified people across the nation. FBI Director Christoper Wray said he was “appalled,” and President Joe Biden said he was outraged and he called the video horrific.

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