By AFRO Staff
Tennessee officials confirmed part of a devastating rumor regarding the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols to be true this week. Shortly after the Jan. 10 death, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook were set ablaze with whispers that Nichols had been romantically involved with the mother of a child belonging to one of the officers who carried out the attack. Allegations swirled, with comments pouring in about a photo taken of Nichols and allegedly shared with the woman.
On Feb 8, the AFRO obtained documents that show the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) received “change of status” notices from the Memphis Police Department on Jan. 25 for the five officers charged in the Nichols death. The department also requested that the men be decertified to prevent them from being rehired by another law enforcement department in Tennessee. According to the official documents released by the POST, one reason for the decertification confirms that photos of a bloody Nichols were indeed taken and shared with others.
In the decertification request for Demetrius Jermaine Haley, issuing officer Lt. J.K. Morris and charging officer Sgt. D. Craig list the reasons they gave to Haley for the administrative actions.
“On your personal cell phone, you took two photographs while standing in front of the obviously injured subject after he was handcuffed,” the POST documents said. “You admitted you shared the photo in a text message with five people; one civilian employee, two MPD officers, and one female acquaintance. During the administrative investigation, a sixth person was identified as a recipient of the same photograph.”
The MPD released several body and skycam videos that played silent witness to the attack. Included in the package of videos that rocked the nation upon their release on Jan. 27 was a 31-minute, four-second recording. At the eight-minute, nine-second mark of the skycam footage Demetrius Haley can be seen leaning over Nichols and putting a cell phone in his face, photographing his victim as he fades in and out of consciousness. Haley is recorded on camera taking the photographs of Nichols, reviewing them, and moving in closer with his flashlight to capture more images.
Since Nichols’ death, five officers have been charged with second-degree murder for the killing.
A total of seven officers have been fired, with more under investigation. Three emergency medical technicians have also been dismissed from their positions.
The MPD reasoning for the dismissals and decertifications detail the brutal attack on Nichols.
“You used excessive force and restrained movement of a subject as your partner punched him multiple times and the person sustained critical injuries and later expired,” read the decertification request for former MPD Officer Justin L. Smith.
“You also witnessed another officer punch and kick the non-violent subject multiple times. You failed to take reasonable action to stop the excessive and unnecessary use of force as the subject was not armed and only evading arrest on foot for a traffic violation,” the document continued.
The department noted that the videos of the “unbecoming” behavior was “broadcasted on local and national media sites.”
Attorneys for the dismissed officers could not be reached for comment.
Protests have taken place from coast to coast.
Aside from the police department and local emergency medical services, another organization has experienced severe backlash in the weeks after the attack.
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity has officially added the names of Emmitt Martin III, Tadarrius Bean, and Desmond Mills Jr. to their public list of expelled persons.