The Memphis Police Department has confirmed that a sixth officer has been disciplined during the investigation into the death of Tyre Nichols.
Nichols was pulled over on suspicion of reckless driving on Jan. 7. He was seen on police video being brutally beaten by police officers and died three days later in the hospital.
Officer Preston Hemphill has been "relieved of duty," according to Memphis Police Department spokesperson Kimberly Elder. She added, "This is an ongoing investigation. Once additional information is available, we will update our social media platforms. Hemphill was hired in 2018."
Hemphill was relieved at the same time as five other officers, Elder says. He has not been charged related to the beating and subsequent death of Nichols.
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But while the other officers were fired, Hemphill is suspended from duty, pending an investigation, according to department spokesperson Christopher Williams. Williams could not clarify whether Hemphill is still receiving his salary.
Hemphill's attorney, Lee Gerald, says Hemphill was the third officer at the initial traffic stop of Nichols. "Video One is his bodycam footage. As per departmental regulations Officer Hemphill activated his bodycam. He was never present at the second scene. He is cooperating with officials in this investigation," says Gerald.
The five former officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III and Desmond Mills Jr. — have all been charged with one count of second-degree murder, one count of aggravated assault-acting in concert, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct and one count of official oppression. They are all out on bail.
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