2 Memphis FD employees are relieved of duty in connection to Tyre Nichols’ death : NPR

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A photo of Tire Nichols is shown during a memorial service for him on Tuesday Jan. 17, 2023 in Memphis, Tenn. Nichols was killed during a traffic stop with Memphis Police on Jan. 7.

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A photo of Tire Nichols is shown during a memorial service for him on Tuesday Jan. 17, 2023 in Memphis, Tenn. Nichols was killed during a traffic stop with Memphis Police on Jan. 7.

Adrian Sainz/AP

Two Memphis, Tenn., fire department employees have been “relieved of duty” pending an internal investigation into the death of Tire Nichols, a Black man who died days after a traffic stop in -January 7th.

Memphis Fire Department spokeswoman Qwanesha Ward told NPR that the employees — who were not identified — were “involved in the initial patient care” of Nichols. She did not go into further details.

“This is an ongoing investigation, and we cannot comment further at this time,” Ward said.

Nichols died on January 10, three days after being stopped by Memphis police for reckless driving. The 29-year-old fled the scene of the traffic stop but was eventually arrested after which Memphis police say they were two “confrontations” with her officials.

Nichols had complained of shortness of breath after his arrest and was taken to hospital in critical condition, authorities said. His family said the police beat him so badly that he became unrecognizable.

Attorney Ben Crump, one of the family’s attorneys, told reporters during a news conference Monday that Nichols was tased, pepper sprayed and restrained during the incident – part of which occurred almost 80 yards from where he lived with his mother and father.

Crump said that, in body camera footage of the incident, Nichols could be heard calling for his mother.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump speaks during a news conference with the family of Tire Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, as RowVaughn Wells, Tyre’s mother, right, and Tyre’s stepfather Rodney Wells, with attorney Tony Romanucci, left. , also stood with Crump, in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, January 23, 2023.

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Civil rights attorney Ben Crump speaks during a news conference with the family of Tire Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, as RowVaughn Wells, Tyre’s mother, right, and Tyre’s stepfather Rodney Wells, with attorney Tony Romanucci, left. , also stood with Crump, in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, January 23, 2023.

Gerald Herbert/AP

“Again, we’re seeing evidence of what happens to Black and brown people from simple traffic stops,” he said. “You shouldn’t get killed over a simple traffic stop.”

Nichols’ mother, RowVaughn Wells, told reporters during Monday’s news conference that her son did not take drugs or carry guns. She wondered why the police felt the need to violently arrest him.

“He had my name tattooed on his arm, and that made me proud, because a lot of kids don’t put their mother’s name on it, but he did,” she said.

Five Memphis police officers have already been fired

Family and supporters of Tire Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, leave in prayer at the start of a news conference with civil rights attorney Ben Crump in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, January 23, 2023.

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Family and supporters of Tire Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, leave in prayer at the start of a news conference with civil rights attorney Ben Crump in Memphis, Tenn., Monday, January 23, 2023.

Gerald Herbert/AP

The Memphis Police Department announced last week that it has concluded its administrative investigation into Nichols’ death, he said he had fired five officers: Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith.

Like Nichols, all of the fired officers are Black.

Jo statement posted on TwitterMemphis Police Chief Cerelyn ‘CJ’ Davis said the officers violated multiple police department policies – including excessive use of force, duty to intervene and duty to render aid.

“The Memphis Police Department is committed to protecting and defending the rights of every citizen in our city,” Davis said in her statement. “The egregious nature of this incident is not a reflection of the good work that our officers perform, with integrity, every day.”

Video footage has not yet been released to the public

In addition, the The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office said in her statement she understood the “reasonable request from the public” to see the video of Nichols’ death. The office said it was working to determine how quickly it could release the footage.

“Our office is committed to transparency and understands the reasonable request from the public to view video footage. However, we must ensure that we respect applicable laws and ethical rules so as not to jeopardize an investigation or prosecution that ongoing,” the district attorney. office said.

The Department of Justice and the FBI have launched a civil rights investigation in Nichols’ death along with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation launch its own separate investigation.

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