A former Memphis Police lieutenant who was the on-scene supervisor during the traffic stop that led to Tyre Nichols’ death retired this month after an investigation that recommended his termination, new documents show.
According to an internal investigation into the events of Jan. 7, Lt. DeWayne Smith arrived on the scene in Hickory Hill and was told officers tased and pepper sprayed Nichols. But Smith failed to ask officers why there was blood on Nichols’ face, or determine how much force they had used, the investigation documents show.
When Nichols said “I can’t breathe” and slumped over while in handcuffs, Smith failed to direct any officers to remove the cuffs so emergency medical personnel could provide care.
Smith concluded that Nichols’ condition was the result of having consumed intoxicants, and told him “You done took something, mane,” though Nichols told the officer he had not taken anything. He later was heard telling family members that Nichols was in custody for DUI.