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According to documents released Tuesday, at least one Memphis Police Department officer who joined in beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols took photos of his bloodied body and shared them with other officers and a female acquaintance.
Demetrius Haley stood over Nichols as he lay slumped against the police car and proceeded to take photos of him as officers bragged about the severity of the beating. The gang-like assault occurred on Jan. 7, and Nichols died three days later in a hospital.
“Your on-duty conduct was unjustly, blatantly unprofessional and unbecoming for a sworn public servant,” Memphis Police Department wrote in a letter to the Tennessee Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission seeking the officer’s decertification.
In President Biden’s 73-minute State of the Union speech on Tuesday, he devoted roughly five minutes to both calling out police brutality and praising the “vast majority” of law enforcement officers.
Yet the details that continue to pour out of the investigation into Memphis Police Department’s beating death of Tyre Nichols paint a different picture of American policing.
Memphis police officer Demetrius Haley texted photos of bloodied Tyre Nichols
Demetrius Haley, along with Desmond Mills Jr., Tadarrius Bean, Justin Smith, and Emmitt Martin III all face second-degree murder charges for their role in beating, kicking, taunting and torturing Tyre Nichols, a beloved father, son and skateboarder.
The release of documents on Tuesday, reported by the Associated Press, are part of a Memphis Police Department request to ensure all five officers are no longer certified to serve in their former capacity.
Driving in an unmarked car and wearing a Black hoodie, Haley pulled Nichols from his car while yelling profanities before spraying him with a chemical irritant, the document states.
“You never told the driver the purpose of the vehicle stop or that he was under arrest,” it reads. Haley also wasn’t wearing his body cam during the encounter.
Roughly 13 total Memphis police officers face possible discipline for the brutal lynching of and lack of concern for Tyre Nichols, with seven relieved of duty or fired and five charged with murder.
In the days following the release of the body camera footage, millions of people and political pundits appeared more concern with the possible violent response from Black communities than with the expectation that more police killings of unarmed civilians will likely continue into the future.