City of Memphis via AP
- All 5 officers charged in Tyre Nichols’ death failed to capture the entire incident on body cameras.
- Three of the five removed their cameras during the still-active scene, according to new police docs.
- All 5 officers were fired and have since been charged with second-degree murder.
All five Memphis Police officers charged in the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols failed to capture the entire encounter on their body-worn cameras, and three of the five fully removed their body-worn cameras during the still-active scene, according to newly-released police documents obtained by Insider.
Following Nichols’ death, the police department released portions of responding officers’ body-worn camera footage, as well as CCTV video of the encounter. The most thorough accounting of the deadly confrontation, however, came from controversial “sky cop” cameras that are installed throughout Memphis in crime hotspots and have cost the city more than $10 million.
Police documents obtained by Insider on Tuesday paint a picture of repeated missteps by responding officers, one of whom admitted to taking and then sharing a photo of Nichols, bloodied, bruised, and handcuffed on his personal cellphone in the aftermath of the confrontation.
The Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, a state board agency, received the police documents late last month as part of five decertification requests made by the Memphis Police Department for the five officers involved.
Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., Justin Smith, Demetrius Haley, and Tadarrius Bean were all fired and have since been charged with second-degree murder in Nichols’ death.
On the evening of Jan. 7, Memphis police officers stopped Nichols on suspicion of “reckless driving,” though police officials have since said they haven’t found evidence that Nichols was driving erratically. An initial confrontation between Nichols and several officers ensued as they pulled him out of his vehicle and pushed him to the ground.
A second confrontation occurred after Nichols got up and ran away as an officer tried to Tase him. Body-camera footage showed several officers beating Nichols while he was on the ground.
Nichols died three days after the traffic stop.
Tennessee policy requires officers to activate their body cameras during “all law enforcement encounters and activities.”
But investigators said Martin failed to activate his body-worn camera during the first confrontation with Nichols. “At some point,” he also removed the camera from his duty vest and placed it in an unmarked vehicle, according to the documents.
According to the records, Bean also removed his body-worn camera from his duty vest and put it on the trunk of a squad car during the “active scene” and then walked away from the device while it was still recording in order to have a conversation with his fellow officers about the incident.
Mills’s camera caught the initial interaction with Nichols, officials said, but the officer later removed his duty vest and placed it on the trunk of an unmarked vehicle with the camera still attached.
Both Haley and Smith also failed to capture the encounter with Nichols in its entirety, according to police records.
Six cops in total have been fired as a result of the beating, and seven more officers with the department are facing an internal investigation and possible discipline, the City of Memphis announced Tuesday.