Documents: Officer Didn't Give Tyre Nichols Reason for Stop

Newly released documents provide fullest account yet of officers' actions
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 9, 2023 1:29 AM CST
Tyre Nichols' Traffic Stop Was Never Explained to Him: Docs
In this image from video released and partially redacted by the city of Memphis, Tenn., Tyre Nichols lies on the ground during a brutal attack by Memphis Police officers on Jan. 7, 2023, in Memphis.   (City of Memphis via AP, File)

The officer who pulled Tyre Nichols from his car before police fatally beat him never explained why he was being stopped, newly released documents show, and emerging reports from Memphis residents suggest that was common, the AP reports. The Memphis Police Department blasted Demetrius Haley and four other officers as “blatantly unprofessional” and asked that they be stripped of the ability to work as police for their role in the Jan. 7 beating, according to documents released Tuesday by the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission that offer the most detailed account to date of the actions of officers involved.

The documents also include revelations that Haley took photographs of Nichols as he lay propped against a police car, then sent the photos to other officers and a female acquaintance. Haley, who was driving an unmarked car and wearing a black hoodie, forced Nichols from his car using profanity, then sprayed him in the eyes with a chemical irritant, according to the documents released Tuesday. “You never told the driver the purpose of the vehicle stop or that he was under arrest,” the documents state.

Haley did not have his body camera on when he stopped Nichols but was on a phone call with someone who overheard. The documents also accuse the officers of misleading officials about what happened (for example, Nichols sounds calm and polite in audio of the incident, while officers claimed he was violent and uncooperative) and failing to provide aid afterward. (Other residents are coming forward about similarly disturbing interactions with Memphis police.)

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