Sixth US police officer fired over beating death of Tyre Nichols

Five other officers had already been fired and charged with murder over the death of the 29-year-old Black man.

People carry banners and signs on the day a video is released showing Memphis police beating Tyre Nichols, at a protest in New York, US [File: Andrew Kelly/Reuters]

The Memphis Police Department on Friday said it had fired a sixth officer involved in the arrest of Tyre Nichols, the 29-year-old African American whose fatal beating shocked the nation.

Preston Hemphill, who had been in the southern US city’s police force since 2018, “violated multiple departmental policies,” including on “personal conduct,” “truthfulness” and regulations on Taser gun use, the department said in a statement.

Five other officers had already been fired and charged with murder over Nichols’ death.

“While we disagree with this termination, Preston Hemphill will continue to cooperate with all authorities in the investigation into the death of Mr Nichols,” Lee Gerald, a lawyer representing Hemphill, said by telephone, according to Reuters news agency.

Hemphill, a white man, had been suspended since the beginning of the department’s investigation, but that was not made public until Monday.

Nichols was arrested by members of a special police unit called Scorpion on January 7 for what police said was a traffic violation.

Footage of his vicious beating, recorded on body cameras and security cameras, triggered national outrage when it was made public last week.

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