First Police Report In Tyre Nichols Case Contradicts Video Evidence
An initial police report from the hours after the Tyre Nichols traffic stop suggested Nichols was violent, made no mention of the officers punching and kicking him, and made claims contradicted by videos later released by police. The post First Police Report In Tyre Nichols Case Contradicts Video Evidence appeared first on The Seattle Medium.
By Nouran Salahieh, Holly Yan and Nick Valencia, CNN
Editor’s note: This article contains graphic descriptions of violence.
(CNN) — An initial police report from the hours after the Tyre Nichols traffic stop suggested Nichols was violent, made no mention of the officers punching and kicking him, and made claims contradicted by videos later released by police.
The report also describes one of the officers at the scene — who has since been charged with second-degree murder — as a “victim.”
Nichols, who was Black, was subdued on the ground yet continuously beaten after a traffic stop by Memphis police on January 7. He died three days later.
While authorities have not released the police report, a photo of a police report was posted by a controversial Memphis radio talk show host. Shelby County District Attorney spokesperson Erica Williams told CNN “the DA does have a report that has that same account of events.”
The police report account was first reported by The New York Times.
The written police report claimed Nichols “started to fight” with officers and at one point grabbed the gun of one of the detectives — two things not seen in police videos released last week. And despite the fact that the videos do not appear to show Nichols fighting back, the report lists Nichols as a suspect in an aggravated assault.
The report says Nichols was sweating profusely and irate when he exited his vehicle and refused lawful detention by law enforcement. The report states that pepper spray and the use of a Taser stun gun had no effect on him.
The report also lists E. Martin as a “victim.” One of the five officers charged with second-degree murder is Emmitt Martin III.
It’s not clear who wrote the police report, which references both the Memphis Police Department and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
CNN’s calls to Memphis police have not been returned.
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office refused to comment on the statements in the police report or the sheriff department’s role in it.
“The release of reports in connection with the investigation is unauthorized and the Sheriff’s Office cannot comment,” spokesperson John Morris told CNN.
The police report alleges that Nichols was pulled over for reckless driving at a high rate of speed.
CNN has previously reported that the initial public statement from the police department was also contradicted by the videos, as it described the fatal beating as “confrontations” during which a suspect “complained of shortness of breath.”
While the report does not reflect what is shown on the body camera and Skycop street camera which captured the incident, it does seem to reflect what the officers were discussing after Nichols was subdued, and handcuffed by police, the night of the incident.
‘They beat on him like he was nothing,’ brother says
For the first time since Nichols was fatally beaten, his brother Jamal Dupree is speaking publicly about the horror and anguish his family lives with every day.
“It’s like a never-ending nightmare,” Dupree told “CNN This Morning” on Tuesday.
Dupree has not watched the video of his 29-year-old brother getting beaten with a baton and kicked in the head. He said he doesn’t need to see it.
“As soon as I seen them photos from him in the hospital, I already knew that they treated my brother like an animal,” Dupree said. “They beat on him like he was nothing. I don’t have to watch the video to know that.”
After public outrage over the gruesome video, officials have announced more firings or disciplinary action against public servants at the scene.
In addition to the firings of five Black Memphis police officers — all of whom face murder charges — officials have announced the firings of three Memphis Fire Department personnel. Two sheriff’s deputies have been put on leave. And the police department acknowledged Monday that two more police officers had been put on leave.
“We are looking at everybody who had any kind of involvement in this incident,” from the officers and paramedics on scene to those who filed the paperwork, Shelby County District Attorney Steven Mulroy said Monday.
Prosecutors moved “extraordinarily quick” with charges against the five officers “primarily responsible for the death of Tyre Nichols,” the prosecutor said. “As to everybody else, it’s going to take some time as we do that investigation, but I assure you the investigation’s ongoing.”
The release of gruesome footage of the attack on Nichols again horrified a nation that’s faced a steady stream of videos of police violence, especially against people of color.
Beyond sparking protests from New York to Los Angeles and renewing calls for broad police reform, the Nichols case has raised questions about police units in other cities like the Memphis SCORPION squad whose officers stopped Nichols on the road.
The deadly encounter started with police pulling Nichols over for what they initially said was suspected reckless driving and unfolds at two locations. Video released Friday shows Nichols running away after officers yanked him out of a car and used pepper spray and a Taser to try to make him lie prone; and then officers catching up to him at a second location, where he is repeatedly kicked and beaten.
After his hands are restrained and he’s left slumped to the ground, roughly 23 minutes pass before a gurney arrives at the scene. Nichols died at a hospital of his injuries three days later, authorities said.
The Memphis Fire Department announced Monday that two emergency medical technicians and a fire lieutenant were terminated over their response on scene.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it. And I think we’re going to find there’s more to this as we go into the trial,” Memphis City Council member Jeff Warren said. “I don’t think we’re on top of this yet.”
“We need to make sure that we go through our police department and see where we were weak, what happened with our procedures, what happened with our oversight,” Warren said.
Nichols’ brother feels guilty he couldn’t save him
Dupree said he felt it was his duty to protect his little brother. Now, he says he’s racked with guilt because he couldn’t save him.
“My brother was trying to cooperate with them,” Dupree said.
“If I was there, they would have had to kill me, too. Because I would have fought all of them.”
He said he wants everyone to remember how much joy Nichols brought to the world.
“My brother’s legacy is everywhere right now. Everybody knows that my brother was an innocent person. Everybody knows that my brother was filled with energy. He was like the light of the room. He cared about people. He put people before he put himself. He was very selfless. He was just, all-around, a great person to be around,” Dupree said.
“It should never happen to anybody, but at the same time, when you see a person like that, and you know a person like that, it just takes a toll. … The world is going to miss a person like that.”
The charges, firings and people placed on leave so far
Five Memphis police officers were fired January 20 and then indicted last week. They face seven counts, including: second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping with bodily injury, aggravated kidnapping in possession of a deadly weapon, official misconduct and official oppression.
The five officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin and Desmond Mills Jr. — are expected to be arraigned February 17.
On Monday, police said a sixth and a seventh officer were placed on leave with the other five on January 8 — and those two officers still are the subjects of an internal investigation.
Police identified one of the two officers as Preston Hemphill, who is White. Police spokesperson Kimberly Elder declined to say whether Hemphill is being paid.
The city on Friday released body-camera and pole-camera surveillance footage of the initial traffic stop, as well as the beating at the second site. One of the body-cam videos reveals Hemphill — at the site of the initial traffic stop — fired a Taser at Nichols and eventually said after Nichols ran: “One of them prongs hit the bastard.”
Hemphill twice says to an officer who was with him: “I hope they stomp his ass.”
That body-cam video does not show Hemphill at the second site, where the county’s district attorney has said Nichols was beaten and suffered his serious injuries.
Hemphill’s attorney, Lee Gerald, said his client — who hasn’t been charged — “was never present at the second scene.”
The seventh officer has not been publicly identified.
“Officer Preston Hemphill and other officer’s actions and inactions have been and continue to be the subject of this investigation,” Memphis police said in a news release Monday.
“There are numerous charges still developing that are impending,” the news release reads.
The fire personnel terminated over their response to the encounter are emergency medical technicians Robert Long and JaMichael Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker, the fire department said Monday.
The three were responding to a report of “a person pepper sprayed” when they arrived at the scene of the deadly beating and found Nichols on the ground, according to the department.
The fire department’s investigation concluded that “the two EMTs responded based on the initial nature of the call and information they were told on the scene and failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols,” the fire chief said in a news release.
Whitaker had remained in the fire truck, according to the statement.
Pole-camera video released Friday shows that after the EMTs arrived and before the ambulance arrived, first responders repeatedly walked away from Nichols, with Nichols intermittently falling onto his side.
Additionally, two deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office were put on leave last week pending an investigation, after video of the incident was released.
“I have concerns about two deputies who appeared on scene following the physical confrontation between police and Tyre Nichols,” Sheriff Floyd Bonner Jr. said Friday.
Attorneys for two of the fired police officers have commented to CNN. Martin’s attorney, William Massey, said “no one out there that night intended for Tyre Nichols to die.”
Mills’ attorney, Blake Ballin, told CNN the videos “produced as many questions as they have answers,” specifically regarding his client’s involvement during the fatal encounter, adding that Mills arrived later than other officers and that his vision was impaired by the pepper spray used during the traffic stop.
“Some of the questions that remain will require a focus on Desmond Mills’ individual actions,” and “on whether Desmond’s actions crossed the lines that were crossed by other officers during this incident,” Ballin said.
Attorneys for the other former officers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
‘A gross collapse of the system’
While some have praised Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis’ swift action in the case, she is also who created the now-deactivated SCORPION police unit that the charged officers were part of.
“There is a reckoning coming for the police department and for the leadership,” Memphis City Council member Frank Colvett said. “She’s going to have to answer not just to the council but to the citizens — and really the world.”
After the fire department firings were announced Monday, an attorney for Tyre Nichols’ family, Antonio Romanucci said, “everybody on that scene was complicit in this man’s death, in one way, shape, form, or another, somebody failed Tyre Nichols.”
“They either failed by using excessive force; they failed him by severely beating him; they failed him by not intervening; they failed him by not rendering aid,” the attorney told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Monday.
The attorney said Nichols’ family still is trying to absorb the breadth of this multi-agency investigation, while also dealing with the loss of their loved one.
“This is just such a gross collapse of the system that we are supposed to trust, that it really is unspeakable,” Romanucci said.
The Nichols family is expected to hold a news conference Tuesday night at Memphis’ Mason Temple Church of God in Christ headquarters, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous last speech the day before he was assassinated in that city, according to a news release from their attorney Ben Crump.
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The post First Police Report In Tyre Nichols Case Contradicts Video Evidence appeared first on The Seattle Medium.