BY Elizabeth Stauffer, The Western JournalJanuary 30, 2023
1 year ago

White Memphis Police Officer Relieved of Duty Over Tyre Nichols Killing, But His Attorney Points Out One Crucial Point

A sixth officer from the Memphis Police Department has been disciplined in the brutal beating death of Tyre Nichols following a Jan. 7 traffic stop.

Memphis police spokeswoman Karen Rudolph said on Monday that Officer Preston Hemphill, who has served on the force 2018, was relieved of duty when the department began its internal investigation into Nichols' Jan. 10 death, according to The Associated Press.

Rudolph said the department did not make public the involvement of a sixth officer until now because it does not release that information until the end of an investigation, according to the AP. Additionally, according to the AP, she said Hemphill has not been fired.

WATN-TV in Memphis reported that Hemphill was present at the initial traffic stop.

"Hemphill was shown on video during MPD's initial confrontation with Nichols, pulling him from his car forcefully while hitting him on the ground with a Taser, later stating, 'I hope they stomp his a**', after Nichols escaped," the report stated.

WATN published a statement from Hemphill's attorney, Lee Gerald, making it clear that Hemphill was not even on the scene when the ultimately fatal violence took place:

"I can confirm that I represent Memphis Police Officer Preston Hemphill who was the third officer at the initial stop of Mr. Nichols. Video One is his bodycam footage. As per departmental regulations Officer Hemphill activated his bodycam. He was never present at the second scene. He is cooperating with officials in this investigation."

Attorneys for the Nichols' family released a statement on Monday, also published by WATN: "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.”

Americans were left shocked and sickened after watching the video that was released on Friday. The brutality of the police officers was difficult to watch.

The five officers present at both encounters with Nichols were fired and charged with second-degree murder along with other charges.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is representing the Nichols family. He joined MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Monday and called for Hemphill to be terminated.

He told Mitchell there are discrepancies between the police report and the actual incident.

“The fact that they continue to try to make this false narrative tells you that it’s more attempts at conspiracy, the fact that nobody can reasonably articulate why they stopped him in the first place,” Crump said.

“You know, you hear them on the audio trying to say, ‘Oh, he was driving recklessly,’ and they said he was going down the road the wrong way. Well, we don't see any evidence of that whatsoever.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Elizabeth Stauffer, The Western Journal

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