Tennessee is decertifying four police officers charged with the murder of 29-year-old Black teacher and father Tyre D. Nichols, following an internal departmental inquiry carried out by the police, which found that the officers violated several codes of conduct.
The Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) will de-notify the three former officials, namely Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, and Justin Smith, who will have 30 days to file an appeal or comply. The fourth officer Desmond Mills Jr. surrendered his certification earlier but maintained that he was innocent.
POST is Tennessee’s law enforcement certification board which issues and withdraws police certifications. Decertification bars police officers from serving in the department or any other law enforcement agency in the state at any time in the future. All four officers have pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges for their alleged role in the death of Tyre. D. Nichol.
Monique Williams, a Memphis Police Department investigator recommended the decertification after an informal hearing on Thursday. The recommendation held that the officers were “found to be in violation of personal conduct, truthfulness, neglect of duty, excessive unnecessary force.”
Three other officers also under investigation in the case, namely Taddarrius Bean, Preston Hemphill, and Dewayne Smith, will have decertification hearings at a later date. Dewayne Smith and Preston Hemphill, however, have not been criminally charged.
Nichols was arrested on January 7 after cops in Memphis pulled him over for reckless driving. Memphis Police Department originally claimed that Nichols tried to evade arrest and fled on foot, which resulted in a physical confrontation. The police statement, however, gave scant details about the confrontation. Nichols allegedly lost his life due to injuries sustained from the said physical “confrontation.”
Nichols was rushed to the hospital after “the suspect complained of having a shortness of breath, at which time an ambulance was called to the scene,” the Police said. Nichols lost his life on January 10.