A fired Memphis police officer involved in the fatal assault of Tire Nichols took photos of the 29-year-old after he was sprayed, kicked and beaten by police, and texted at least one image to at least five people, it appears new data .
That revelation was contained in documents released Tuesday as part of a request by the Memphis Police Department to decertify the five officers charged in the brutal Jan. 7 attack on Nichols. Decertification means the former officers can no longer serve as police anywhere in the state.
Demetrius Haley, one of five officers fired on Jan. 20, sent the photo, according to the documents.
He was also the officer who physically forced Nichols out of his vehicle during the first traffic stop and used his chemically irritating spray “directly close to the subject’s eyes,” according to documents from the Memphis Police Inspectional Services Bureau.
According to the documents, he used profanity, laughed and “scooped” after Nichols was beaten.
On his personal cell phone, he took two photos “while standing in front of the obviously injured person,” meaning Nichols, “after he was handcuffed,” the documents said.
Haley “admitted” to sharing at least one photo in a text message with five people: a civilian employee, two Memphis police officers and a female acquaintance, the documents said.
It was identified during the administrative investigation that a sixth person had also received the same photo, the documents said.
According to police, Haley violated police policies, including personal conduct, truthfulness, dereliction of duty, and excessive force/unnecessary force.
The distribution of the photo violated the policy of the Department’s Information on Police Activities, which states that “a member shall not disclose information about official police matters without prior authorization or subpoena, except to authorized persons.” A member treats the official affairs of the department confidentially,” the documents said.
Haley joined the force in August 2020 and was previously charged with beating a Shelby County inmate in a 2016 trial.
In that case, he was accused of being one of three detectives alleged to have beaten inmate Cordarlrius Sledge. The lawsuit, which Sledge filed without an attorney, was dismissed in 2018 after a judge found he had failed to properly subpoena one of the defendants.
Haley was also found to be untruthful in his story of Nichols’ arrest, the documents said.
“In your summary of the incident, you wrote that you heard your partner say to the person, ‘Let my gun go!’ before being taken to the ground,” the statement said. “You were also heard making the same statement with a body-worn camera in front of your partners in the presence of witnesses. However, video evidence did not support your oral or written statement and your information was deemed untrue.”
The statement went on to say: “You never told the driver the purpose of the vehicle stop or that he was under arrest. Audio from a body-worn camera did not capture the driver using profanity or violent threats.”
“Your conduct on duty was unjust, blatantly unprofessional and inappropriate for a sworn officer,” the document said.
According to the deposition papers of all officers charged with first degree murder – Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Tadarrius Bean, Desmond Mills Jr. police encounters.
Haley failed to activate his body camera during the first meeting with Nichols, although it functioned properly, according to his documents.
Martin at one point took off his body camera and placed it in his unmarked vehicle; Mills and Bean both at one point removed their body cameras and placed them on the trunk of a car; and Smith’s camera was not activated during his first interaction with Nichols, the documents said.
Other Officer Violations
The documents also detail alleged department violations, including excessive force, dereliction of duty, truthfulness and personal conduct.
Martin was found to be untruthful in the police investigation, according to the documents. He reported in his incident summary of the arrest that Nichols “grabbed” his service weapon before officers placed him on the ground, but video evidence did not corroborate that report, the documents said.
In his Garrity Statement, a statement used by government employers during administrative investigations to determine whether misconduct had occurred, Martin “transmitted not disclosing” that he punched and kicked the subject multiple times in the face. In his statement to ISB investigators, he said he had given “body blows,” the documents said.
Martin’s attorney, William Massey, declined to comment on the documents, saying he was gathering evidence.
Documents for Mills said that when he went to speak with Nichols’ mother, “you and the supervisor failed to obtain her contact information or refused to provide an accurate account of her son’s encounter with police or his condition.”
More coverage of Tire Nichols’ death
He was accused of striking a “nonviolent subject” three times with a baton and spraying him with pepper spray twice, actions all captured on video.
Mills’ attorney, Blake Ballin, declined to comment.
Bean’s documents said he held Nichols by one of his arms while his partners sprayed him with pepper spray and beat him “excessively” with a baton several times. The documents state that he failed to take reasonable steps to “end the excessive and unnecessary use of force”.
In his Garrity statement, Bean admitted to punching Nichols in the face with a closed fist two to three times because he and his partners were unable to handcuff him, which was captured on video evidence, the documents said.
It is not immediately clear whether he has a lawyer. NBC News could not reach Bean for comment.
Smith was also charged with restraining Nichols during the beating.
He was the only official to have a statement included in his administrative file.
In Smith’s written account of the incident, dated January 19, he said he was on desk duty with a knee injury when a supervisor ordered him back on patrol. Upon learning that a suspect had been pepper sprayed and shot with a stun gun, he sought medical attention and responded to a call for officers’ assistance, the statement said.
When he arrived at the scene, Smith said, he encountered an officer struggling with Nichols.
“I assisted that officer in our efforts to take that suspect into custody,” Smith said. “The suspect was violent and would not obey.”
“It is my claim that I personally used the training and defense tactics provided to me as a police officer in Memphis in an attempt to handcuff the suspect,” he said.
He added: “As much as I would like to set the record straight, based on the inconsistencies and misstatements in the indictment that have been provided to me, I am not authorized to make any statements regarding the January 7 incident on the advice of counsel. , 2020.”
The Memphis officer overseeing an administrative hearing on the allegations wrote that Smith admitted to punching Nichols — whom the hearing officer described as “non-violent” — two to three times in the face with a closed first because he and another officer had failed to handcuff him.
“You sprayed the subject with your chemical irritant spray and also held the subject’s arm as other officers kicked, punched and pepper sprayed him several times,” the officer wrote, adding that Smith’s action violated the Department’s excessive use of force rules.
A message requesting comment on a phone number listed under Smith’s name was not answered on Tuesday. Court records don’t list an attorney for him.
None of the officers spoke at their administrative hearings or provided a statement to the Hearing Officer.
All five officers have been fired and charged with manslaughter and other charges.
A sixth officer was fired last week and seven more are still under investigation, a city official said Tuesday.
The president of the Memphis Police Association did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening. In an earlier public statement, Lieutenant Essica Cage-Rosario declined to comment on the officers’ firing due to the ongoing criminal investigation.
In statements accompanying the decertification documents, the union objected to the administrative hearings, saying that the evidence cited by the Hearing Officer – including CCTV footage and witness statements – had not been provided to a representative of the association and that no full research had been done. completely.
“These are just a few examples of the GROSS violations of these officers’ right to due process,” the association said.