Two personnel from the Memphis Fire Department have been fired, and an internal investigation has been launched after their involvement in the initial care of Tyre Nichols, who died Jan. 10 following a traffic stop, Fox News has learned.
The probe comes as five officers were let go from the Memphis Police Department as a result of the encounter, when they were found to be violating “multiple department policies, including excessive use of force, duty to intervene, and duty to render aid,” according to Chief C. J. Davis.
“Last week, two MFD personnel involved in the initial patient care of Tyre Nichols were relieved of duty while an internal investigation is being conducted,” the Tennessee city’s fire department told Fox News on Tuesday.
“This is an ongoing investigation, and we cannot comment further at this time,” it added.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump on Monday described body camera footage showing the Jan. 7 traffic stop as “appalling” and “heinous” after reviewing the video with Nichols’ family.
“It is appalling. It is deplorable. It is heinous. It is violent,” Crump said of the footage, likening it to video of Rodney King, a Black man who was beaten by police in the 1990s.
MPD initially pulled over Nichols, 29, on Jan. 7 around 8:30 p.m. for “reckless driving” near Raines Road and Ross Road in Memphis, according to a press release.
A “confrontation occurred” during the stop, at which point Nichols ran away from police on foot. Officers pursued the 29-year-old and attempted to apprehend him, police said.
“While attempting to take the suspect into custody, another confrontation occurred; however, the suspect was ultimately apprehended,” MPD said. “Afterward the suspect complained of having shortness of breath, at which point an ambulance was called to the scene.”
Authorities transported Nichols to St. Francis Hospital in critical condition, and the 28-year-old died three days later on Jan. 10, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, which is among the agencies investigating the incident.
The five officers who were fired as a result of violating MPD policies include Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr. and Justin Smith. All five officers were hired between 2017 and 2020.
RowVaughn Wells said that on the day of the arrest, her son was looking forward to a chicken she was going to cook for dinner that night.
“All my son was trying to do was come home,” said Wells, who sobbed during the news conference and told reporters Nichols was less than 80 yards (73 meters) from home when Memphis police officers “murdered him.”
“We’re going to get justice for my son, Tyre, if that’s the last breath I take,” she said.
After the family’s news conference about 10 activists walked into the lobby of Mulroy’s office to demand answers to why the district attorney was withholding the video from the public for up to two more weeks and why he hadn’t charged the officers.
“People want to see what happened to Tyre,” activist Pamela Buress said. “And we’re angry about it.”
The Nichols case is the latest high-profile death to rattle the city. Since November 2021, Memphis has seen the fatal shooting of rapper Young Dolph in a daytime ambush at a bakery, a crime rampage in which a man has been charged with fatally shooting three people and wounding three others, the killing of a United Methodist Church pastor during a carjacking in her driveway and the early-morning kidnapping of a jogger whose body was later found near a house.