U.S. NewsPolice Misconduct


Seven officers disciplined in Tyre Nichols' death

Inaction may not warrant criminal charges in all circumstances, but the Memphis Police manual calls for a 'duty to intervene' by officers.
Posted at 9:15 PM, Jan 31, 2023

The fallout from Tyre Nichols death has been swift.  

"We continue to pursue every lead. Justice demands it," said David B. Rausch, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. 

Five Memphis police officers were fired and charged with 2nd degree murder, two EMTs and a lieutenant were fired from the Memphis Fire Department and several others are under investigation.  

"We are looking at everybody who had any kind of involvement in this incident. It’s going to take some time as we do that investigation, but I assure you the investigation is ongoing," said Steve Mulroy, the Shelby County District Attorney.

As Tyre Nichols sat leaned up against a car, bruised and bloodied, there were more than a dozen people on the scene.  

Some are calling for those other officials to face discipline and even charges.  

"I think that a lot of probing questions need to be asked about even what led up to the circumstances that allowed for this to happen," said Walter Katz, vice president of criminal justice at Arnold Ventures.

Walter Katz has made a career reforming and overseeing police departments — co-negotiating the consent decree for the Chicago Police Department and working as a police auditor in San Jose, California. 

Nichols family to address public for first time since video release

Nichols family to address public for first time since video release

Attorney Ben Crump said the news conference will include other community members who were “victims” of alleged brutality from Memphis Police.


"The other first responders on the scene not only have a policy obligation to render aid but at the very core they had a moral obligation and they failed," Katz said.  

In addition to the five officers who have been fired and criminally charged, Memphis police put two more officers on administrative leave.  

Officer Preston Hemphill is one of those officers. The video showing Nichols pulled from his car and pepper sprayed comes from Hemphill’s body camera. 

Hemphill’s attorney says he was never at the second scene where officers kicked and punched Nichols while he was handcuffed. 

For the officers and EMTs who were at the second scene but didn’t participate in the beating, Katz says criminal charges are unlikely. 

But Katz does expect to see more terminations as the investigations continues. 

"I don't want us to be surprised if anyone who was on scene who failed to intervene or failed to render aid will be staying with their department for a long time," Katz said.  

While inaction may not warrant criminal charges in all circumstances, the Memphis Police manual specifically calls for a "duty to intervene" by officers.  

It also requires police to provide medical aid to "injured parties as quickly as possible following any law enforcement action."