Preston Hemphill, a white police officer implicated in the death of Tyre Nichols, has been relieved of duty.
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Source: Memphis Police Department Facebook Page
“Officer Hemphill is relieved of duty. This is an ongoing investigation. Once additional information is available, we will update our social media platforms. Hemphill was hired in 2018,” a department spokesperson told NBC.
Hemphill is the sixth officer relieved of duty regarding Nichols’ death. Five other former police officers were subsequently fired and later charged with second-degree murder after Nichols was pulled over for a traffic stop, chased and then later beaten. He died of his injuries days later.
Hemphill was hired by the Memphis police department in 2018, but MPD has not disclosed his role in the incident. The five officers seen on videos released publicly Friday (January 27), Justin Smith, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, Demetrius Haley and Tadarrius Bean, have all been released on bond since they were booked into the Shelby County jail on January 26.
Video of Nichols’ being beaten by the five officers was viewed worldwide, leading to protests and several mayors across the country calling for peace and calm. Before the video was released, Nichols’ mother warned children not to watch it.
“I still haven’t had time to grieve yet. I’m still dealing with the death of my son. This was not supposed to happen. My son was supposed to be with me today,” RowVaughn Wells said, according to CNN. “My son loved me to death and I loved him to death…this is very difficult for me.
“I’ve never seen the video, but what I’ve heard it’s very horrific, very horrific,” she added. “And any of you who have children, please don’t let them see it.”
The five officers charged in Nichols’ death were hired between 2017 and 2020.
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