A recent release of documents has shed light on the tragic death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old father, FedEx worker and keen photographer in Memphis, Tennessee. Tyre died three days after being beaten by police during a routine traffic stop on January 7th.
Demetrius Haley, one of the five Memphis policemen who have been charged with second degree murder, was the first officer to approach Tyre. The documents released by the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission show that Haley used excessive force during the stop. He tasered, pepper sprayed, punched, kicked and hit Tyre with a retractable baton, leaving him lying on the ground injured and in need of medical attention.
The documents also reveal that Haley took two photos of Tyre while he was sitting battered, bleeding, and in need of medical help. He shared these photos with at least five people, including two fellow officers and a female acquaintance. The report states that Haley never explained to Tyre why he was being stopped and used profanity while pulling him out of his car.
The over 100-page document release highlights the repeated misconduct of each of the officers involved in Tyre’s death. This is the first time such information has been made publicly available, giving insight into the events leading up to Tyre’s death and the actions of those responsible.
The release of these documents has reignited the ongoing debate about police misconduct and the use of excessive force in the United States. Tyre’s death has also sparked a conversation about the treatment of black citizens by the police and the need for accountability in these cases.
From left: Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith and Tadarrius Bean / Photo Credit: BBC News
According to the recently released documents, the officers involved in Tyre Nichols’ death were laughing and bragging about the incident while he lay injured on the ground. The documents also indicate that Tyre never showed any violent threats or swore at the officers, contradicting their claims.
The report accuses Officer Demetrius Haley of making untruthful statements and omissions in his own incident report. For example, he failed to mention that he kicked Tyre while he was on the ground. The report also states that Haley’s conduct during the incident was unjust, unprofessional, and in violation of police policy.
In addition to the five officers charged with murder, a sixth officer has been fired, and a seventh unnamed officer has been suspended. The city attorney has stated that as many as 13 Memphis police officers could face disciplinary action for policy violations. Three emergency medical workers have also been fired for not providing Tyre with adequate care.
Tyre’s death sparked protests and led to the Memphis Police Department disbanding its Scorpion unit, which all of the officers involved in Tyre’s death were part of, within days of the incident. Tyre’s death has become a symbol of the need for accountability and reform in the treatment of black citizens by the police in the United States.