A sixth police officer is the target of the disciplinary investigation into the fatal beating of African-American Tire Nichols, for which five black officers were dismissed and charged with murder, Memphis police announced on Monday (January 30th). Tennessee).
Preston Hemphill, a white police officer on duty in this major southern US city since 2018, “was suspended from the start of the investigations (…)at the same time as the other agents”local police spokeswoman Kim Elder said in a statement, without giving further details.
On January 7, Tyre Nichols, 29, was arrested by police officers from a special unit in Memphis, who accused him of a traffic violation: he was beaten up and died three days later in hospital. .
The images of the tragedy, captured by the on-board cameras of the agents and the surveillance cameras, were made public on Friday. We see the police brutally pull the young man out of his vehicle. Pinned to the ground, he is sprayed with tear gas and targeted by an electric pulse gun. He then fled on foot to his mother’s home. Caught, he is beaten with kicks, fists and truncheons.
Misunderstanding in the United States
The role played by each of the police officers has not been made public. But for Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, lawyers for the family of Tire Nichols, Preston Hemphill is the one who used his electric taser on the young man. According to them, he dropped “I hope they will smash it” when his colleagues set off in pursuit of the young man.
“Why is his identity and role in Tyler’s death only being made public today? », wonder again MM. Crump and Romanucci in a communiqué. “One wonders why the white agent involved in this brutal attack was shielded from public scrutiny, disciplinary action and prosecution? »they add, claiming “all answers”.
The ordeal of Tire Nichols aroused horror and incomprehension in the United States. Several demonstrations in his honor took place this weekend in the country, without taking on the scale of the exceptional mobilization that followed the death of George Floyd, suffocated by a white police officer in 2020.