By Kaylee Pearlman
MEMPHIS, TN- Attorneys Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, who represent the family of Tyre Nichols who was shown beaten to death on graphic body cam footage Friday, Monday commented about news a sixth Memphis police officer—five others have been fired and charged criminally—had been suspended.
And, late Monday, it is being reported not just one, but two more Memphis police officers have been disciplined and three emergency responders fired in connection with the death of Nichols, officials.
Three EMTs—Robert Long, JaMichael Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker—were also fired Monday for their “actions or inactions” when called to render aid to Nichols, Memphis Fire and Rescue announced.
The lawyers note Officer Preston Hemphill, who is white, was seen on the footage grabbing Nichols aggressively and pulling him out of his vehicle. Hemphill also beats him to the ground with a Taser as shown on the video.
When Nichols runs away, the lawyers point out Officer Preston Hemphill states, “I hope they stomp his ass.” This officer has not been fired or charged.
Justin Smith, Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmit Martin, III, and Desmond Mills, Jr., all Black, were the other five officers involved with the death of Nichols. They were charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of misconduct and official oppression.
In response to Hemphill being relieved of duty, Crump and Romanucci stated that it was extremely disappointing that the officer had not been terminated or charged.
Crump and Romanucci noted, “The news today from Memphis officials that Officer Preston Hemphill was reportedly relieved of duty weeks ago, but not yet terminated or charged, is extremely disappointing.
“Why is his identity and the role he played in Tyre’s death just now coming to light? We have asked from the beginning that the Memphis Police Department be transparent with the family and the community—this news seems to indicate that they haven’t risen to the occasion.
“It certainly begs the question why the white officer involved in this brutal attack was shielded and protected from the public eye, and, to date, from sufficient discipline and accountability. The Memphis Police Department owes us all answers,” they added.