Sixth Memphis Police Officer Preston Hemphill Fired Over Tire Nichols Murder

The Memphis Police Department fired a sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, on Friday in connection with the violent arrest and subsequent death of Tire Nichols last month.

The Department saying in a statement Friday that Mr. Hemphill, hired in 2018, “violated multiple departmental policies” around personal conduct, truthfulness, the use of stun guns, as well as the handling of evidence.

the independent has contacted the Memphis Police Union for comment.

Preston Hemphill was terminated from the Memphis Police Department on Friday, February 3, 2023 in connection with the investigation into the death of Tire Nichols, a black motorist who died after a violent arrest during a traffic stop. (Memphis Police Department)

The Nichols family had previously accused officials of “shielding” Mr. Hemphill, who is white, from consequences while prosecuting five black officers involved in the scandal.

Mr. Hemphill had been on administrative leave since the start of the case while facing an internal investigation.

The former officer was allegedly caught on police body cam video saying he expected his fellow officers to “stomp on his ass,” a reference to Nichols.

Ben Crump, an attorney for the Nichols family, also said in a statement that Hemphill was the first to pull Nichols out of his car during a traffic stop and hit him with a taser.

“It certainly raises the question as to why the white officer involved in this brutal attack was shielded and shielded from public view and, to date, given sufficient discipline and accountability,” Crump wrote in a statement at the time. “The Memphis Police Department owes us all answers.”

Lee Gerald, a lawyer for Mr. Hemphill, confirmed that his client was the third officer at Nichols’ first traffic stop, but was never present at the second scene that led to the beating.

“Per departmental regulations, Officer Hemphill activated his body camera,” Gerald said earlier in a statement. “He was never present in the second scene. He is cooperating with officials in this investigation.”

According to a post on MPD’s Facebook page, the former officer had completed at least 40 hours of mental illness training before joining the force’s Crisis Intervention Team.

An unidentified seventh officer is on administrative leave.

The news follows the firing of former MPD officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith, who were charged with second-degree murder.

Three Memphis Fire Department officers were also fired.

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