On Monday, the Memphis Police Department (MPD) announced that a seventh officer has been relieved of duty amid the ongoing investigation into the beating death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols. In addition, the Memphis Fire Dispatch (MFD) announced that three paramedics have been terminated from the Memphis Fire Department as a result of its own internal investigation into Nichols’ death.

Preston Hemphill / Facebook

MPD announced that Preston Hemphill (pictured here) was the sixth Memphis police officer to be relieved of duty as a result of the investigation into Nichol’s death, while the seventh officer relieved of duty has not yet been named.

MPD wrote in a press release that Hemphill’s actions and involvement in Nichols’ death “has been under investigation as he participated in the initial traffic stop and the use of a TASER.”

Attorney Lee Gerald, who represents Hemphill, released a statement to The Tennessee Star confirming the police officer’s presence at the scene of the original traffic stop with Tyre Nichols.

Gerald told The Star that Memphis Police Officer Preston Hemphill “was the third officer at the initial stop of Mr. Nichols.”

Gerald added, “As per departmental regulations Officer Hemphill activated his body cam.” and noted that, “Video One is his body cam footage.”

Hemphill, who is cooperating with officials in the investigation, did not follow in pursuit of Nichols to the second scene, the lawyer said.

Meanwhile, in a Monday press release, MPD announced that the three paramedics – EMT-B Robert Long, EMT-A JaMicheal Sandridge and Lt. Michelle Whitaker – violated “numerous MFD Policies and Protocols” while responding to the scene of Nichols.

“Their actions or inactions on the scene that night do not meet the expectations of the Memphis Fire Department and are not reflective of the outstanding service the men and women of the Memphis Fire Department provide daily in our community,” MFD stated.

The first five former Memphis police officers to be relieved from duty – Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin, and Desmond Mills, Jr. – were charged last week with second degree murder in the beating death of Nichols. All five former officers were part of the now-deactivated SCORPION (Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods) unit, as previously reported by The Star.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Memphis Police Department” by Memphis Police Department est.1827.