Ex-EMT: It's Cops' Fault I Didn't Render Aid to Tyre Nichols

Robert Long says police refused to take off Nichols' handcuffs, meaning EMTs couldn't check his vitals
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 4, 2023 8:30 AM CST
Ex-Memphis EMT: Cops 'Impeded' Care to Tyre Nichols
The image from video released on Jan. 27 by the City of Memphis shows police officers talking after a brutal attack on Tyre Nichols on Jan. 7 in Memphis, Tennessee.   (City of Memphis via AP)

A former Memphis Fire Department emergency medical technician told a Tennessee board Friday that officers "impeded patient care" by refusing to remove Tyre Nichols' handcuffs, which would have allowed EMTs to check his vital signs after he was brutally beaten by police. Robert Long, whose license was suspended for failing to give aid to Nichols and who has also been fired, appeared by livestream before the state Emergency Medical Services Board to share his version of events, per the AP. He provided details about how he and another EMT, JaMichael Sandridge, responded after five Memphis police officers had punched, kicked, and hit Nichols with a baton during an arrest following Nichols fleeing a traffic stop on Jan. 7. Long and Sandridge were fired by the department on Jan. 30.

Their licenses were suspended by the board Feb. 3, after members watched a 19-minute video taken at the beating location. Before Long testified Friday, his lawyer, Darrell O'Neal, noted that the video taken by an elevated pole camera and seen by the board didn't have sound and didn't capture what was said during the arrest. Long gave a detailed account of what officers, Nichols, and he himself said. Long said he approached Nichols and saw he had "a bump on his head, a busted lip, and a dried bloody nose on both nostrils," but that he answered "Tyre Nichols" when asked his name. He also said Nichols then asked him for help standing up and to remove the handcuffs. Nichols repeated this request several times, Long said. Long noted that he repeatedly tried to place a monitor on Nichols to check his vital signs, including blood pressure, but Nichols would roll away.

Long said he interpreted this movement as Nichols rejecting care and refusing cooperation, adding he didn't force the blood pressure cuff onto Nichols or hold him down for fear of being accused of assault. At one point, cops leaned over Nichols and were "in his face, saying loudly that the patient is not going anywhere and that they are not going to uncuff him, impeding patient care," per Long. They continued to impede his care, Long said. Eventually, Nichols stopped moving and became unresponsive, Long said. An ambulance arrived, and Nichols was taken to a hospital. Officials said the EMTs failed to render aid to Nichols, who died three days after the beating, despite Nichols showing "clear signs of distress," per documents seen by the AP. Both Long and Sandridge failed to initiate a primary examination, which could've helped ID the presence of any life-threatening injuries, the documents note.

(More Tyre Nichols stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.