4 ex-officers in Tyre Nichols case barred from police work in Tennessee

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In this image from video released on Jan. 27, 2023, by the city of Memphis, Tenn., Tyre Nichols leans against a car after a brutal attack by five Memphis Police officers on Jan. 7, in Memphis.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Four of five former Memphis police officers charged with murder in the beating death of Tyre Nichols cannot work as law enforcement officers again in Tennessee, a state panel decided Friday.

The Peace Officer Standards & Training Commission, or P.O.S.T., voted to decertify Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin and Justin Smith during a meeting Friday morning. It also approved the decision by Desmond Mills to surrender his certification.


The former officers have 30 days to appeal.

The Memphis Police Department has requested the decertification of seven former Memphis officers, including one who retired before he could be fired.


Mills’ attorney said his client has been wrongly indicted and is “focusing on his freedom.”

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“It’s a waste of time,” attorney Blake Ballin said. “It is meaningless to him at this stage in his life.”

Neither the fired officers nor their attorneys showed up for a hearing Thursday in their cases in front of the panel. They were also not present for Friday’s vote.

Five of the seven fired officers have been charged with second-degree murder in Nichols’ death Jan. 10 following a traffic stop on Jan. 7. They have pleaded not guilty.

The fifth former officer charged, Tadarrius Bean, has not yet had his decertification hearing in front of the commission. Neither have two former officers who were not charged: Preston Hemphill, who was terminated after firing a stun gun at Nichols during the traffic stop; and Dewayne Smith, the supervising lieutenant who arrived on scene after the beating, who retired instead of being fired.

A seventh police employee who was fired has not been publicly named.

A judge stepped in earlier this month to temporarily block the police department from releasing disciplinary files and additional video from their investigation. Authorities have already released other footage from police body cameras and a surveillance camera that provides a detailed look at the police pummeling Nichols.

Body cameras of some of the five officers charged in Nichols’ death recorded them beating him, propping the badly injured man in handcuffs against an unmarked police car and ignoring him as he struggles to stay upright.