The tragic death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old man who was beaten to death by five Memphis police officers on January 7, 2023, has taken a shocking turn. New documents obtained by WREG Memphis as part of the decertification process for the five former officers, Demetrius Hall, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., Justin Smith, and Tadarrius Bean, have confirmed rumors of a personal aspect to the case.
The documents reveal that Hall took two photos of Nichols after the beating and sent them to at least six people, including “one female acquaintance.”
The Memphis Police Department (MPD) has assisted prosecutors in charging the five former officers with second-degree murder and submitted documents to the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) board supporting its request for decertification.
One former officer reportedly took pictures of Nichols on the ground on his personal cell phone and sent them to several others while on duty. https://t.co/916FXZ9TK7
— Action News 5 (@WMCActionNews5) February 7, 2023
The documents also state that Hall transmitted the photo in violation of police policy and that Mills spoke with Nichols’ mother the night of the incident but did not provide an accurate account of the encounter with police or his condition. Additionally, Smith and Hall did not turn on their body cameras. Martin, Bean, and Mills took off their body cameras and placed them on nearby cars.
The confirmation of a possible personal aspect of the case has led to questions about the official narrative that Nichols was just another unarmed Black man murdered by poorly trained and racist police officers. Sherrilyn Ifill, former NAACP counsel and Senior Fellow at the Ford Foundation, has demanded that the entire story be told. Some have speculated that the beating was a revenge murder by five Black men rather than a problem with the police.
The Tyre Nichols beating has become the latest rallying cry for leftist authoritarians calling for federal control over local police departments. However, suppose it turns out that the incident was a street-gang beatdown of a romantic rival. In that case, it will have only an indirect relation to law enforcement and the Tyre Nichols part of the “systemic police brutality and racism” narrative may collapse.
The five former officers have been added to the county’s Giglio list, a list kept by the district attorney of compromised officers. The case continues to attract widespread attention and outrage. The trial process for the five ex-officers should reveal additional facts about what happened on January 7 on the streets of Memphis.