Memphis Police Department’s decision to terminate Ofc. Preston Hemphill, the white officer involved in the fatal arrest of Tyre Nichols, has sparked a lot of questions. Why did it take so long for the department to take action? Why was the white officer shielded and protected while the five Black officers involved were charged with second-degree murder?
On Friday, the Memphis Police Department announced the termination of Ofc. Preston Hemphill, who was one of the first officers to confront Tyre during the fateful January 7 traffic stop. Hemphill is alleged to have used his Taser on Tyre and his body cam footage shows him chasing Nichols on foot. During the pursuit, Hemphill was twice heard saying, “I hope they stomp his a**”.
The five Black officers involved in the arrest, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith, were fired before Hemphill and have since been charged with second-degree murder.
In a statement, Memphis PD revealed they conducted a thorough review of Tyre’s arrest and determined Hemphill violated multiple department policies, including personal conduct, truthfulness and not using his Taser properly.
However, Hemphill has not been criminally charged in connection with Tyre’s death and a 7th Memphis PD officer who was involved in the arrest is on administrative leave but their identity has not been publicly revealed.
Earlier this week, the Memphis Fire Department also fired 3 members who responded to the scene in an ambulance, including a pair of EMTs and a lieutenant.
The death of Tyre Nichols has sparked a lot of questions and raised a lot of eyebrows. It’s clear that justice needs to be served and that all parties involved need to be held accountable for their actions.