Five Memphis police officers who were involved in the arrest of Tyre Nichols –three days after a traffic stop earlier this month – have been fired, the department announced Friday.
The five officers were dismissed following an “internal investigation” which determined that they “violated multiple department policies, including excessive force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid,” Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis said in a statement.
The five officers were identified by the department as Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith.
On Jan. 7, the 29-year-old Nichols, who is Black, was arrested after officers stopped him for reckless driving, police said.
There was a confrontation as officers approached the driver, and he ran before he was confronted again by the pursuing officers, who arrested him, authorities said. He complained of shortness of breath and was hospitalized. Officials said a cause of death has not yet been determined.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the state’s police agency, said Nichols died Jan. 10. The agency is conducting a use-of-force investigation at the request of Shelby County District Attorney General Steve Mulroy.
The five officers who were fired are all Black, according to a Memphis Police public information officer.
Federal authoritiesthey were launching a civil rights investigation into the actions of Memphis police.
Relatives have said that the officers who pulled over Nichols were in an unmarked vehicle and that he experienced cardiac arrest and kidney failure because of a beating by officers.
Davis and Mayor Jim Strickland said Tuesday that video footage of the arrest will be released after the police department’s investigation is completed and the family can review it.
After initially declining comment on the Justice Department’s investigation, the city of Memphis sent out a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying it will fully cooperate with the federal agencies conducting the probe.
At a memorial service for Nichols on Tuesday, family and friends remembered him as a joyful, lovable man who worked making boxes at FedEx, enjoyed skateboarding and regularly drank coffee and chatted with friends at Starbucks. Some of those in attendance wore T-shirts that read “Justice for Tyre,” and “Skate in Peace.”
Relatives said Nichols was from California and moved to Memphis about a year ago. He had two brothers and a sister, relatives said.
Nichols’ stepfather, Rodney Wells, said during the service that Nichols’ supporters want the officers involved in the arrest to be charged with first-degree murder.
“We’re not going down without a fight,” Wells said.