According to newly released police documents obtained by Insider, all five Memphis Police officers charged in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols failed to capture the entire encounter on their body-worn cameras, and three of the five completely removed their body-worn cameras while the still-active scene was still taking place.
After Nichols’ passing, the local police department shared portions of the film captured by the body cameras worn by the officers who responded to the incident, as well as the footage captured by the nearby surveillance cameras. However, contentious “sky cop” cameras, which have been put all around Memphis in areas known to have high rates of criminal activity and have cost the city in excess of ten million dollars, provided the most comprehensive description of the deadly incident.
The documents that were obtained by Insider on Tuesday from the police paint a picture of repeated missteps by responding officers. One of the officers has admitted to taking a photo of Nichols, bloodied, bruised, and handcuffed on his personal cellphone in the aftermath of the confrontation. He then shared the photo with his coworkers.
Late in the previous month, the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, an entity of the state board, acquired the police papers as part of five decertification requests made by the Memphis Police Department for the five officers involved.
Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., Justin Smith, Demetrius Haley, and Tadarrius Bean were all terminated from their positions and have subsequently been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Nichols.
Nichols was pulled over by Memphis police officers on the evening of January 7 under the suspicion that he was “recklessly driving.” However, police officials have stated that they have not uncovered any evidence that Nichols was driving erratically at the time of his stop. An initial altercation broke out between Nichols and a number of officers as soon as they extracted him from his vehicle and forced him to the ground.
Nichols got up and fled away as an officer attempted to Tase him, which led to a second altercation between the two parties. The video from Nichols’ body camera shows multiple officers punching and kicking him as he is on the ground.
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Nichols passed away three days after the police stopped him for speeding. In accordance with state protocol, law enforcement personnel in the state of Tennessee are required to turn on the body cameras that are attached to their uniforms during “all law enforcement encounters and activities.”
However, according to the investigators, Martin did not turn on the body-worn camera that he was wearing during the initial interaction with Nichols. According to the docs, “at some point,” he took the camera off of his duty vest and put it in a vehicle that was not tagged with any kind of identification.
According to the records, Bean also removed his body-worn camera from his duty vest and placed it on the trunk of a squad car during the “active scene.” After doing so, he walked away from the device while it was still recording in order to have a discussion with his fellow officers about the incident. During this time, the camera was still recording.
The original conversation with Nichols was captured on camera by Mills, according to the officials, but the officer afterwards removed his duty vest and placed it on the trunk of an unmarked vehicle with the camera still attached to it.
According to the records from the police department, neither Haley nor Smith were able to film the whole interaction that they had with Nichols. The City of Memphis revealed on Tuesday that a total of six police officers had been terminated as a consequence of the beating, and seven additional officers with the department are facing an internal inquiry and possibly discipline as a result of the incident.
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