Memphis Police Department documents show multiple violations by the five officers now charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tyre Nichols. One of those officers, Demetrius Haley, sent photos of a bloodied and beaten Tryre to at least five people.
According to New York Times, the documents were part of an internal affairs investigation, which MPD used to request the decertification of the five officers. If granted, Demetrius, Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills Jr., Emmitt Martin III, and Justin Smith won’t be able to work as officers anywhere in Tennessee. Officials reportedly haven’t scheduled a hearing as of Tuesday.
Demetrius is also the officer who forced Tyre out of his car without stating a reason for the stop or arrest. The documents say Haley owned up to sending photos of hurt and handcuffed Tyre to a civilian department employee, two officers, and a female acquaintance. A sixth person received the photo, but it’s unclear who sent it.
Tyre died three days after being savagely beaten. He was 29–a Black father, photographer, and skateboarding lover.
Videos of the beating, per NYT, also show Demetrius shining a flashlight at Tyre, snapping a picture, reviewing his phone screen, then taking another picture. In this instance, Tyre violated MPD’s policy that forbids officers from using their personal devices while on patrol duty.
But Haley had committed other policy violations before that. To start, after yanking Tyre out of the car, Haley tried to pepper spray him in the face while he was laying on the pavement. Tyre reacted by standing up and running away, but an officer fired a taser at him. That officer has been fired by the department along with Demetrius, Tadarrius, Desmond, Emmitt, and Justin.
When the group caught up to Tyre, they reportedly beat him for almost three minutes. Tyre Nichols was less than 100 yards from his mother’s house while this happened.
As for Haley, he arrived at the second scene while officers were handcuffing Tyre. Still, he ran up and landed what looks like a full-force kick to Tyre’s upper torso.
During his time on the force, Haley faced reprimands for failing to file a report after grabbing someone by the arm during an arrest in 2021.
MPD requires their officers to activate their body cameras during “all law enforcement encounters and activities.” However, Emmitt Martin violated that policy by putting his camera in his car at one point. Meanwhile, none of the officers’ cameras recorded the entire stop, arrest, and beating, per the MPD’s documents.
One officer reportedly refused to give Tyre’s mother “an accurate account” of the, while others left out details of the assault in their reporting of the incident.
Though two officers claimed Tyre tried to grab an officer’s gun, the documents say there is no evidence of that. The police chief has also debunked claims by officers that Tyre was driving recklessly given the lack of evidence.
Most notably, the documents called out the officers’ “blatantly unprofessional” behavior during and after beating Tyre, including the use of profanities, mocking, and abuse. As seen on bodycam footage, the disbanded Scorpion Unit officers also laughed and bragged about their involvement in harming Tyre.
In addition to the six fired officers, city officials are reportedly investigating seven additional officers for other policy violations.
In the aftermath of the beating, the Memphis Fire Department fired three emergency medical technicians. Their statement declared Robert Long, JaMichael Sandridge, and Lt. Michelle Whitaker’s “actions or inactions on the scene” on Jan. 7 did not meet the MFD’s expectations.