Tire Nichols death supervisor retired before firing
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Memphis police supervisor at the scene when Tire Nichols was beaten to death by retired officers the day before a hearing to fire him, according to documents filed to revoke his law enforcement certificate.
Lt. DeWayne Smith was identified in records obtained by media on Friday as the officer who officials said retired earlier this month ahead of his dismissal hearing.
Some members of the Memphis City Council were upset that an officer was allowed to retire before steps could be taken to fire them, including Council Vice Chairman JB Smiley Jr., who said that ‘It didn’t seem fair that the then-unidentified officer could keep his pension. and other benefits.
“I just don’t like the fact that his parents are paying this officer to continue living and it’s disturbing,” Smiley said.
Nichols’ family attorney said the department should not have let Smith “cowardly dodge the consequences of his actions” and retire after 25 years.
“We call on police and officials in Memphis to do everything in their power to hold Lt. Smith and everyone involved fully accountable,” attorney Ben Crump said.
Seven other Memphis officers were fired after Nichols died following a Jan. 7 traffic stop and five of them are charged with second-degree murder. Smith is not charged in Nichols’ death.
Nichols, 29, was pulled roughly from his car as an officer threatened to shock him with a Taser. He ran, but was chased. The video showed five police officers holding him down and hitting him repeatedly with their fists, boots and batons as he cried out for his mother.
Decertification documents against Lt. Smith reveal additional details about his actions that night.
Smith heard Nichols say “I can’t breathe” as he leaned against a police cruiser, but failed to get him treatment or remove his handcuffs, according to the report.
Smith also did not receive reports from other officers about the use of force and told Nichols’ family that he was driving under the influence even though there was no information to back up a claim. accusation, according to the documents. Investigators say Smith decided without evidence that Nichols was drugged or drunk and video captured him telling Nichols “you took something” when he arrived on the scene.
Additionally, Smith was not wearing his body camera – violating police department policy. His actions were captured on other officers’ body cameras, documents show.
The US Department of Justice is currently reviewing the Memphis Police Department’s policies on the use of force, de-escalation strategies and specialized units in response to Nichols’ death.
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