Memphis Officer Reportedly Texted Photo of Tyre Nichols After Beating
As Tyre Nichols sat helplessly against a police car, bloodied, dazed, and handcuffed after being beaten by a group of Memphis police officers, one of those officers took a picture of him and sent it to at least five people, the Memphis Police Department said in documents released on Tuesday.
The documents discussed repeated misconduct by the officers, starting just after Nichols was pulled over for a traffic stop, through an arrest carried out with excessive force, and continuing through the many minutes when Nichols lay on the street in need of medical help.
Sending the photograph to contacts in his phone, including at least one outside the police department, violated policies about keeping information confidential, according to the documents. But police officials said it was also part of a pattern of mocking, abusive, and “blatantly unprofessional” behavior by the officers, including shouting profanities at Nichols, laughing after the beating, and “bragging” about their involvement.
The revelations came from internal affairs documents that the Memphis Police Department sent to a state agency, in which the department asked for the five officers—who have been charged with second-degree murder in Nichols’s death—to be decertified, meaning they could no longer work as police officers anywhere in the state.
In the documents, police officials described how the officers worked together as they severely beat Nichols, appeared to relish the assault afterward, and then made a series of omissions and false claims in their reports about what happened.
Demetrius Haley, the officer who sent the photographs and forced Nichols out of his car, also never told Nichols why he had been stopped or was under arrest. After Nichols ran away from the officers, several of them caught up with him a few minutes later and unleashed a series of punches and kicks while he was being restrained. And when one officer met with Nichols’s mother afterward, the officer “refused to provide an accurate account” of what had happened, the police officials said.
In other Memphis Police Department news, the Department of Justice will help review the Memphis Police Department following the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols, city officials said.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced Friday that the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, along with the International Association of Police Chiefs, will conduct an “independent, external review” that will include assessing the department’s special units and use-of-force policies “to honor Tyre and help make sure this type of tragedy does not happen again.”