Officers fired after Tire Nichols’ death were ‘directly responsible’ for his abuse, police chief says

Officers fired after Tire Nichols’ death were ‘directly responsible’ for his abuse, police chief says

Five police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, who were charged with violating department policies in a traffic stop that led to the death of Tire Nichols were “directly responsible” for his “physical abuse,” the police chief of the city ​​on Wednesday night.

In a video statement, Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis said other officers remained under investigation in connection with alleged policy violations during the Jan. 7 stop.

“Some violations are less serious than others,” he said.

The five officers fired last week “were directly responsible for the physical abuse of Mr. Nichols,” Davis said.

Davis called the incident “egregious, reckless and inhumane,” conduct that he said people can see for themselves when body camera video of the stop is released in the coming days.

“I hope you feel what the Nichols family feels,” he said. “I hope he is outraged by the disregard for basic human rights, as our police officers have sworn to do the opposite of what occurred in the video.”

Davis called on people to protest peacefully and said authorities would review the department’s specialized units to ensure officers follow department policies during encounters.

Attorneys for Nichols’ family have said some of the officers involved in the arrest were in unmarked cars and were part of the department’s organized crime unit.

More coverage of the death of Tire Nichols

The five officers were fired last week after an administrative review found they allegedly violated excessive force and duty to assist policies, among others.

Previous efforts to reach officers have been unsuccessful. Efforts on Wednesday night were also unsuccessful.

Lt. Essica Cage-Rosario, president of the Memphis police union, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday night. She previously declined to comment on the officers’ alleged conduct or her firing.

“The citizens of Memphis and, more importantly, the family of Mr. Nichols deserve to know the full account of the events leading up to his death and what may have contributed to it,” he said in a statement last week.

Two members of the Memphis Fire Department described as being involved in Nichols’ “initial patient care” have been “relieved of duty” amid an internal investigation into his death, a department spokesman said Monday.

Authorities have provided few details about the stop that led to Nichols’ death. In an initial statement, the police department said he was pulled over for reckless driving and a confrontation ensued when he tried to run from police.

Nichols, 29, complained of having difficulty breathing and was hospitalized in critical condition. He died three days later.

The Shelby County Medical Examiner’s Office has not released an official cause of death. A forensic pathologist hired by Nichols’ family found that he “suffered extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating,” an attorney for Nichols’ family said Tuesday.

After reviewing video of the arrest, lawyers for the family compared his treatment to that of Rodney King and said he was the victim of an “unadulterated, brazen and non-stop beating.”

The case is also being reviewed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department, which announced last week that it had opened a civil rights investigation.

phil helsell Y Doha Madani contributed.

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