By Ashley Silver
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A sixth Memphis police officer has been relieved of duty pending the outcome of an investigation into the death of Tyre Nichols during his arrest on January 7.
Nichols, who was allegedly stopped for reckless driving, was pulled from his vehicle and struck on the ground by Officer Preston Hemphill’s TASER, according to ABC24 and Memphis Police. On video released by the Memphis Police Department, Hemphill could be heard saying, “I hope they stomp his a**,” after Nichols fled from the scene.
Attorney Lee Gerald, representing Hemphill, released the following statement: “I can confirm that I represent Memphis Police Officer Preston Hemphill who was the third officer at the initial stop of Mr. 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.”
Two more unnamed Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies were relieved of duty after the release of the bodycam and surveillance videos on Friday. Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner said both deputies “appeared on the scene following the physical confrontation between [Memphis] police and Tyre Nichols.” He did not provide further details, but noted he has “concerns” about the Shelby County deputies after watching footage of the traffic stop. An internal investigation is currently underway.
Five Memphis Police officers have already been fired and later indicted on numerous charges, including second-degree murder, in the death of Nichols.
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