Everything we know about the six officers disciplined in Tyre Nichols beating

The Memphis Police Department announced on Monday that a sixth officer has been suspended in connection to the brutal police beating of Tyre Nichols that preceded his death.

Preston Hemphill, the officer who was suspended, joins another five officers who were fired from the force for their alleged involvement in Mr Nichols’ injuries.

The five officers involved — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr., Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith  — were fired on 20 January and have since been charged with second-degree murder.

Each of the five officers who were fired were part of the now-defunct SCORPION unit, which was created to address serious crime, but has since been "permanently deactivated", according to the police department.

One of the officers had previous complaints against him for abusing a suspect.

Here’s everything we know about the six officers involved in the beating of Mr Nichols.

Demetrius Haley

Demetrius Haley (Shelby County Jail)
Demetrius Haley (Shelby County Jail)

Mr Haley was named in a previous excessive force complaint in 2016. He was working for the Shelby County Division of Corrections when he was named in the federal civil rights lawsuit, according to CBS News.

The plaintiff in that case, Cordarlrius Sledge, said he encountered Mr Haley as an inmate in 2015. During that interaction, Mr Haley accused him of flushing contraband.

He claimed that Mr Haley and another officer "hit me in the face with punches," according to the complaint. Mr Sledge said a third officer slammed his head into the ground, causing him to lose consciousness.

Mr Sledge’s complain was eventually dismissed after a judge ruled that he had failed to file a grievance against the officers within 30 days of the incident.

Emmitt Martin III

Memphis Police Force Investigation
Memphis Police Force Investigation

Mr Martin joined the Memphis Police Department in 2018 after graduating from Bethel University, where he played as a tight end on the school’s football team.

Joshua Harper, a pastor in Missouri, said he was a classmate and followed Mr Martin on social media. He said Mr Martin often posted about his daughter, and said that the person he saw in the footage is "is not the person that I know," according to court documents.

"I was shocked only for a second because I understood that he was a police officer and I know behind the badge that anything can happen when anyone has power and authority," Mr Harper told NBC News.

Mr Martin reportedly plans to plead not guilty to his charges, according to Fox 5 New York, citing his attorney.

Tadarrius Bean

Memphis Police Force Investigation
Memphis Police Force Investigation

Mr Bean joined the Memphis Police Department in 2020, which delighted his family, according to a distant family member.

"Everybody was proud of him, proud that he was doing what he loved to do," Diane Thompson, whose late brother was formerly married to Mr Bean’s mother, told NBC News.

Prior to joining the police force, Mr Bean worked at a fast-food restaurant in Mississippi and also worked for AT&T in Memphis, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He studied criminal justice between 2016 and 2020 at the University of Mississippi, and participated in an internship at the campus police department, according to his profile on the site. He graduated from Ole Miss with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice.

Desmond Mills Jr

Memphis Police Force Investigation
Memphis Police Force Investigation

Prior to joining the Memphis Police Department in 2017, Mr Mills was known as "Box" on the West Virginia State University football team, according to one of his former coaches.

Kip Shaw, his former coach, told NBC News that Mr Mills played for the team between 2009 and 2010, and said he was popular on the team. However, he was shocked when he learned the former centre and offensive guard was one of the officers involved in Mr Nichols’ death.

"I’m not one to be surprised a lot," he said. "But when I saw the news, I was just shocked. I’ve been coaching a long tie and you just never know. I told my wife, ‘that man played for us at West Virginia State.’"

Mr Mills is originally from a suburb north of Hartford, Connecticut.

William Massey, the lawyer representing Mr Mills, said his client plans to plead not guilty, and said that "no one out there that night intended for Tyre Nichols to die," Fox 5 New York reports.

Justin Smith

Former Memphis Police Department officer Justin Smith mugshot (Shelby County Sheriff’s Office)
Former Memphis Police Department officer Justin Smith mugshot (Shelby County Sheriff’s Office)

Mr Smith joined the Memphis Police Department in 2018. After he was arrested for his alleged role in Mr Nichols’ beating, he posted a $250,000 bail and was released from custody.

Preston Hemphill

Memphis Police Department officer Preston Hemphill, who was suspended in connection to the police beating of Tyre Nichols (Memphis Police Department)
Memphis Police Department officer Preston Hemphill, who was suspended in connection to the police beating of Tyre Nichols (Memphis Police Department)

Mr Hemphill’s suspension from the Memphis Police Department was announced on 30 January, though the department said an investigation had already been underway into his actions to night officers allegedly beat Mr Nichols.

Mr Hemphill has been identified by his attorney, Lee Gerald, as the third officer to arrive at the scene on the evening of the incident.

The officer’s bodycam footage was included in the video released on Friday detailing the police encounter.

In the footage, Mr Hemphill can be seen using a stun gun against Mr Nichols.

"One of them prongs hit the b******," he says in the footage.

Later, Mr Hemphill can be heard saying to another officer "I hope they stomp his a**," according to CNN.

Mr Gerald said Mr Hemphill was not present at the second scene. No charges have been filed against Mr Hemphill as of yet.

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