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Memphis Cop Will Not Be Charged For Tyre Nichols Killing

Former Memphis police officer Preston Hemphill will not be charged over the killing of Tyre Nichols, who was beaten to death by five officers in January, the Guardian reports. A spokesperson for the Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said Hemphill “did not pursue Tyre Nichols and never left the initial scene” of the traffic stop that preceded the beating, but “was not present for the later beating incident”. In February, Memphis police fired Hemphill, making him the sixth officer terminated over Nichols’s death. The district attorney’s office added Hemphill, who is white, to a “Giglio list,” compiled by prosecutors and police departments to contain “the names and details of law enforcement officers who have had sustained incidents of untruthfulness, criminal convictions, and other issues – placing their credibility into question." Five officers, all Black, have been charged with second-degree murder in connection to Nichols’ death. More than a dozen police and fire personnel have also been charged.

On January 27, officers pulled Nichols, a 29-year-old FedEx worker, skater and father, over on a pre-textual traffic stop, meaning a minor violation that might allow police to look for other offenses. Nichols died three days after a beating that was captured on video, after which first aid was delayed. The footage prompted nationwide protests and inspired calls by activists for police reform. Not long after charges were filed against the five officers, Memphis police dissolved the so-called Scorpion unit, a crime suppression squad meant to target repeat violent offenders in high-crime areas. In March, the Justice Department launched an investigation into Memphis police policies and practices. In April, Memphis councilors prohibited police from conducting traffic stops for low-level offenses, making it the sixth U.S. city with such an ordinance. The same month, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and other attorneys representing Nichols’ family filed a $550 million lawsuit against the city of Memphis, Memphis police, individual officers and emergency medical personnel, for engaging in “unconstitutional policies, practices, customs and deliberate indifference.”


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