Three members of the Memphis Fire Department were fired after an investigation concluded they violated department policies when they responded to the scene of the violent arrest of Tyre Nichols.
EMTs Robert Long and JaMichael Sandridge, as well as Lt. Michelle Whitaker, were fired following an internal investigation, the department announced on Monday.
Fire Chief Gina Sweat said in a statement that the department received a call from police to respond to a report of a person who had been pepper-sprayed, and that the workers arrived while Nichols was handcuffed and leaning up against a squad car. Long and Sandridge, based on the nature of the call and information they were told by police, “failed to conduct an adequate patient assessment of Mr. Nichols,” the statement said. Whitaker and the driver remained in the engine.
An investigation determined that all three violated “numerous” policies and protocols, the statement said.
Nichols died three days after the January 7 incident.
Five Memphis police officers involved in the case were fired and are now facing criminal charges including second-degree murder.
“The current charges do not preclude us from adding additional charges as more information is presented,” the statement from the district attorney’s office said. “We are looking at all individuals involved in the events leading up to, during, and after the beating of Tyre Nichols.” This includes Memphis Fire Department personnel and “persons who participated in preparing documentation of the incident afterward,” the statement read.
Police said on Monday that a sixth officer, Preston Hemphill, had been relieved of duty at the beginning of the investigation, at the same time as the five who were later charged. Later Monday, Memphis police said Hemphill “participated in the initial traffic stop” and used a TASER. Police also revealed Monday night that a seventh officer had been relieved of duty at the time, but did not identify that officer or specify what their involvement was.
Videos released on Friday, including footage from police body cameras and street surveillance cameras, have led to more officers being put under investigation. Shortly after the footage was released, Sheriff Floyd Bonner, Jr. of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said that two deputies who responded to the scene were “relieved of duty pending an investigation.”